Story by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Victor Arriaga
More than 80 Marines and sailors with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point returned from a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan Feb. 2 and 5.
While deployed, VMGR-252’s mission was to provide close-air support, aerial refueling and transport of cargo and troops.
“The Marines and sailors of VMGR-252 did excellent during this deployment,” said Capt. Orlando Samudio, the logistics officer-in-charge for VMGR-252. “They were very professional and gave out every second of the deployment.”
“There really is no highlight of a deployment when the Marines and sailors all did a great job,” he said. “If I were to pick a highlight it would have to be how they carried themselves throughout the whole thing.”
Family and friends of the returning Marines and sailors gathered at the squadron’s hangar, anxious to reunite with their loved ones.
“I’m so excited, nervous and happy to finally be with him again and so he can see his daughter,” said Angela Canaan, wife of Petty Officer 2nd Class Clayton Canaan, a corpsman with VMGR-252. “Even though this is his third deployment, I still get the same emotions when he’s back. It will also be nice to have an extra set of hands around the house.”
For some family and friends, VMGR-252’s return was no surprise and comes as a fitting end to seven months apart.
For others, the return marks the beginning of a life of commitment. Lance Cpl. Cody Ryan, a safety and survival mechanic returning with VMGR-252, greeted his loved one in a unique way. Dropping to one knee, in a crowd of reuniting Marines, sailors and loved ones, Ryan asked for Mary Kate Sheehan’s hand in marriage. Sheehan accepted.
“This worked out exactly how I planned,” said Ryan. “I love her, so this was one of the best ways to show her how I feel.”
The entirety of the situation took Sheehan by surprise and left her almost speechless, she said.
“I had a feeling it was coming but I didn’t know he was going to propose in front of all these people,” said Sheehan. “Either way, it’s just great to have him back.”
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