Lejeune Marines prepare to deploy off Libyan coast

Marines and sailors from Camp Lejeune say good-bye to loved ones. (Shae Crisson)
March 27, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Twenty-two hundred Marines and sailors from Camp Lejeune are preparing to deploy off the coast of Libya in northern Africa. They said goodbye to their families Monday afternoon, and they'll be leaving in the days ahead.

"There's always in the back of your mind what if, what could happen," Marine wife Carrie Cochran said.

Cochran, like the other wives, is confident her Marine is prepared for the mission.

"As long as he knows how to do his job and he keeps his concentration going, he can take care of his Marines then he can bring everybody home," Cochran said.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit was set to deploy to the Mediterranean later this year but that got bumped up once NATO forces launched an air assault on Libya.

The unit is relieving the 26th MEU, which took part in some of the initial assaults. The 22nd is a Marine, air and ground task force. Some are trained for aviation combat, others for ground combat. They can handle evacuations and humanitarian missions too.

Whatever the president decides, Cochran's husband, Sergeant Lewis Cochran, says he told his little boy, Dylan, he's ready.

"My Marines, all the Marines the whole PLT is ready to go," Sgt. Cochran said.

"And I'm not gonna like it," 3-year-old Dylan said. "I'm not gonna like it when daddy gets on a big boat."

Sgt. Cochran may not be here for Dylan's 4th birthday next week but like other Camp Lejeune Marines, he'll never be far from his heart.

The Marines and sailors are being bused to the Morehead City Port Monday evening. They'll board the USS Bataan and set sail for Libya in a few days.

They're expected to be gone for 10 months.

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