By Craig Hoffman
(LEXINGTON, July 8th, 2004, 1 p.m.) -- President Bush has said the U.S. military will remain in the Middle East for years to come to help re-build towns and track down terrorists. As WAVE 3's Craig Hoffman reports, that includes some Kentuckiana marines who are getting ready go to Iraq again.
July 7th was a special day at Lexington's Military Reserve Center. It was a chance for families to say goodbye to 96 U.S. Marine MPs -- for the second time. They left Thursday for California to train, and within weeks they will arrive in Fallujah.
Nearly half of the members of Company "A" are from Louisville. The unit returned from southern Iraq in September.
Staff Sgt. Jay Taylor says saying goodbye is "a tough thing to do, to have these marines actually do it twice, for their second deployment, it just comes down to a basic committment."
Jay's mother, Pamela Taylor, remembers how tough it was the first time her son left for duty. "It's very hard when you hear that the car bombs are going off, the caravans are blowing up, and I know that's what their duty is. So I'd really rather just put my head in the sand at that point."
Insurgents fired weapons at A Company last year, but no one got hurt. Lance Corporal Michael White from Louisville knows the danger that lies ahead. So does his wife, Tara. "His mom will call all the time and ask -- there was a bombing, there was a bombing!' And I say, 'don't watch the news.' It's just you watch it the whole time, and you just don't think about it -- it's too much."
Michael offers reassurance to his family. "Whatever comes our way, I'm sure we will be able to take care of it, try not to think too much about what can happen. Instead, look at the future."
The next nine months won't be easy for Michael's mother. "The lord will watch over all of them," she says. "And what they're doing will show the world what the United States is all about."
The Marine MP from Company A left for California Thursday morning. After a few weeks of training, they'll head off to Iraq again, where they know they will spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special occasions away from their families.
Online Reporter: Craig Hoffman