KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly 300 bags lined the parking lot at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe on Wednesday. The 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment packed up for a seven month deployment in Afghanistan.
It's the second deployment for Lance Corporal, Michael Payne, but this time, it's different. He expressed, "I'm a little bit nervous. Oh yeah, nervous is definitely a big part." Nervous for a baby on the way. His wife, Kristen, is due in September, and L.C. Payne doesn't return until November.
He told us, "I'm more worried for her sake, that way she's all right. I'm a little anxious to get back though, because she's going to need as much support as possible."
Kristen says last time Payne deployed, it was much easier. She was back home working, and they weren't married yet.
Now, "There are more memories, more house full of all his stuff."
These men and women join the nearly 47,000 troops that are currently in the Middle East. Most in this group have headed to the Middle East several times. Tom Grace, the Operations Officer for this Regiment said, "With the three battalions rotating through, it's been quite a few times. At least once a year for the past five or six years."
These Marines and Sailors are part of a new beginning. They've been working in two separate provinces to turn over the reigns to national forces. Officer Grace continued, "They will be working with the host nation security forces on a daily basis. We only bring more of the fight down there in Garmsir, just get that transition process going so eventually U.S. troops can come home."
That's exactly what Michael's wife, Kristen, is hoping for. "He's gonna be wiping a lot of diapers, and doing a lot of feeding. It's my break. When he gets back, he gets out, and we get to start the rest of our lives together."