Capt. K.C. Barr, with daughters Heather, 7, left, Alexis, 9, and Rachel, 4, was among 300 Kaneohe Marines returning last night from Afghanistan.

Families greet
300 Marines

A Kaneohe contingent returns
from difficult duty in Afghanistan

Five children in matching orange tops and white shorts rushed to hug their father, Capt. K.C. Barr, as he stepped off the plane.

They presented him with hugs, kisses and a handmade Father's Day card.

"We have presents and cake waiting for him at home, but he doesn't know that," Barr's 9-year-old daughter, Alexis, said with a big smile and tears of happiness streaming down her face.

Barr is one of nearly 300 Marines returning to Hawaii after spending 7 1/2 months in Afghanistan's central and eastern regions, participating in stabilization, security and counterterrorism operations.

"He missed all of our birthdays and Father's Day, but he made it home in time for his birthday, our 11th wedding anniversary and the birth of our daughter," Michelle Barr said as she patted her stomach affectionately. "Hope is due in six weeks," she said.

Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, were exuberant upon their return yesterday evening to the Kaneohe base.

Capt. K.C. Barr held the Father's Day card made by his children. From left are Josh, 5; Rachel, 4; his wife, Michelle; Christian, 2; and Heather, 7.

When the plane carrying the remaining members of Kaneohe's 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, touched down a little after 7 p.m. yesterday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe, a band struck up a tune while nearly 200 family members and friends cheered and waved signs.

Yesterday's group was the largest among 1,000 Marines who left for Afghanistan in November. The first four groups have returned in waves since Thursday.

"We have mixed feelings about this return," Lt. Col. Norm Cooling said. "It feels great to be home and reunited with our families, yet there is a sense we didn't come home complete."

Two men were killed in action, and 12 more were wounded.

While stationed in Afghanistan, the battalion was responsible for an area about the size of West Virginia.

"Prior to our arrival there was no sustained U.S. presence, and four al-Qaida-related groups occupied the area," Cooling said.

The unit, called "America's Battalion," fought insurgents, patrolled the area and offered humanitarian aid to civilians. They were replaced by about 900 Marines in Kaneohe's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii
3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment

| | |
E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com