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Katy Gillen, left, and husband Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Gillen prepare to say goodbye at Camp Pendleton before deploying to Afghanistan. The couple are expecting their first child, a daughter, due in May.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Dawn Santmyer and her husband, Maj. William Santmyer, say goodbye at Camp Pendleton.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Thelma Benasfre hugs her son Staff Sgt. Reynan Benasfre at Camp Pendleton before he deploys to Afghanistan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Grace Santmyer, 6, embraces her father, Maj. William Santmyer, at Camp Pendleton before he deploys to Afghanistan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Marine Sgt. Susan Ortiz plays with her friend's daughter Madilynn Lara, 6, at Camp Pendleton before deploying to Afghanistan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Marines load onto buses at Camp Pendleton as they deploy to Afghanistan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

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Under a cold, gray sky,  Marines departed Camp Pendleton on Monday for Afghanistan _ more than a decade after Marines from the same base surged into Afghanistan to topple the Taliban government.

“Daddy is going to Afghanistan to help protect people,” said 2-year-old Adrianna Dimmer, whose father is Warrant Officer Jorge Dimmer.

The mission is different but yet the same as it was in late 2001 when the Marines from Camp Pendleton were the first conventional U.S. forces into Afghanistan: defeat the Taliban and support friendly Afghan forces. Within days the Marines from Camp Pendleton will assume command of western forces in Helmand province on the border with Pakistan, once a Taliban stronghold.

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2 Comments

  1. February 27, 2012, 10:54 pm

    thank God that we have Marines to fight our wars. And thank you Christina House for the wonderful pictures of the Marines and families. Great stuff.

    Steve Thompson
    Spokane

    By: sst
  2. February 28, 2012, 3:49 pm

    Powerful images of great Americans and great American families. God be with them all and protect them until they all reunite. Semper Fi, Devil Dogs!

    R. DeLaRosa
    Charleston, SC

    By: R. DeLaRosa

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