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Four civilian Marines deploy to Middle East

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- A handful of personnel attached to the Albany Marine installation recently said goodbye to their families for the next year.

Four civilian Marines with Maintenance Center Albany departed from the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport for service in the Middle East Friday.

Bobby Sherman is on his way to Kuwait. Lavantes Lewis, Charles Tinson and Eric Clemens were en route to Afghanistan.

The employees are set to be gone for as long as one year in support of the Joint Program Office/Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle efforts.

Specific duties vary depending on the location. Sherman will be supervising 100 personnel working to repair and maintain vehicles on site.

"Our main goal is to support the warfighter," he said. "This is their lifeline."

Before his time with MCA, Sherman worked at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and served in the Marine Corps. He is expected to be in Kuwait for three to six months.

"There have been a lot of changes over the past couple of years," Sherman said. "My biggest worry (about the deployment) is my family at home."

The family prepared for the civilian Marine's impending departure. Now that he is on his way, their main concern is his return.

"I just want him to come home safely," said his wife, Judy Sherman, before he boarded the plane. "We're prepared for his absence as much as we can be. This is his job, this is what he has to do.

"We just want him to go so we can count down the days until he gets home."

Gabryella Sherman, 11, said she will miss her father, but she plans to exchange e-mails with him regularly while he is gone.

"Last night I told him that I love him and I hope he comes home safely," she said Friday.

There are 18 civilian Marines from MCA currently overseas, excluding the four that left Friday.

Col. Terry Reid, MCA's commanding officer, was there to see the group off.

"It's important for me to be here to let them know what they do is important," he said. "It's about people.

"I want to make sure the families know I'm here for them."

The three civilian Marines going to Afghanistan will be responsible for ensuring the new equipment over there is functioning as it should be.

"They are there to make sure what they (the Marines) get is ready to operate," Reid explained.