Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany GA --
Marines, civilian-Marines, family and friends welcomed back two Marine Corps Logistics Command Marines - Master Gunnery Sgt. Anthony McWilliams and Cpl. Jacob Klann - from an Afghanistan deployment at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany, Friday. McWilliams, Marine Corps Logistics Command- Forward staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, and Klann, retrograde clerk, hugged and shook hands with the group who thanked them for their service. Lt. Col. Donald Gray Jr., deputy director, Maintenance Management Center, Logistics Command, appreciated the Marines,’ who work in his section, overseas service. “It’s a special moment,” Gray said. “It’s always wonderful to have someone tell you that you appreciate what they’ve done. (I) just want to say thank you for your service and welcome home. Semper Fidelis!” Each Marine spoke about their deployments as well as what they missed.
His seventh deployment during his 25-year Marine Corps career, McWilliams served a second tour in Afghanistan. He’s also deployed aboard three Mediterranean floats and to Norway as well as conducted drug interdiction in South America. McWilliams described the best part of the deployment as the small unit cohesion. “This detachment is a small Marine detachment and everyone is tight is (what) makes it so nice,” he said, noting he hopes to impart to his Marines here how logistics there works. “Logistics in general and how we move stuff in and out of theater, the challenges of transportation (as well as) there’s a lot of improvising and adapting.” During his time in Afghanistan, McWilliams re-enlisted, bringing him to his 30-year mark. He added he missed his family, wife, Tina; daughter, Tristan, 24; daughter, Felecia, 22; son, Anthony Joshua or A.J., 15; and son, Jacob, 11. Tina and their sons hugged McWilliams as soon as he entered the airport terminal. Tristan is serving in the Air Force and Felecia is attending college in California. “I missed the family, the routine, the family life, my kids, experiencing them growing up and going to school and sports,” he said. “(I’m) happy to be back.” McWilliams noted the first thing he’ll do is eat a steak. Not only did Master Sgt. Jason Spangenberg, Logistics Command career planner, re-enlist McWilliams, but he wanted to greet the Marines when they came home. “He emailed me and we started doing the paperwork,” Spangenberg said. “I sent it over to him and he swore in while deployed. It’s always an honor to re-enlist a master gunnery sergeant or a sergeant major. This is his last contract. It’s special.” Spangenberg deployed to Afghanistan from March 2010 to March 2011 with I Marine Expeditionary Force-Forward, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and served three tours in Iraq. “I’ve never met (Master Gunnery Sergeant McWilliams or Corporal Klann) in person,” he said. “I’ve talked with both of them on the phone. I wanted to be here to welcome them home. As the Logistics Command career planner and as a United States Marine, I thought it was my duty. It’s important ... to thank them for what they’ve done. It’s great they’re home in time for Christmas.” Tina McWilliams said she was excited her husband was home. “We’ve only been here for a year and we don’t know very many people here, so I’m happy to have him back,” she said. “It’s always exciting for him to come back.” Tina added that what she missed most during her husband’s deployment was “having help with the boys and the normal day-to-day stuff that you don’t really realize you have to handle on your own.” They will spend their 25th wedding anniversary in Gatlinburg, Tenn., at the end of December. A.J. echoed his mom’s feelings. “It’s a good feeling because he’s been gone for awhile and it’s kind of tough without him,” A.J. said. “He’s always involved with what I do in sports and everything. I can always talk to him about everything.” The 15-year-old, who hopes to go camping with his dad now that he’s home, said he’s proud of him. “I love him and I’m glad to have him home,” A.J. said. Jacob also shared his feelings and said it felt pretty good to have his dad home. “He’s missed my football season and I want to tell him about it,” Jacob said. “He missed my sister’s graduation from the Air Force. I’m proud of my dad because of his promotions and such, like how he’s a master gunnery sergeant. He’s been in the military for a long time and I’m proud he’s serving. I missed him and I love him. I just want to talk to him and just hang out with him and show him everything he’s missed.” Jacob wants to play and watch football with his dad since he’s returned.
McWilliams was Klann’s SNCOIC.
“As a retrograde clerk, I accounted for multiple millions of dollars worth of equipment that was getting ready to be headed back to Albany, Barstow (California) or (Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Florida) for its maintenance buildup from the ground-up procedures,” Klann said. He also deployed to Iraq for 14 months from January 2007-January 2008. “Deployments in general can just be rough,” Klann said. “I did pretty much anything that was asked. I tried to do everything to the best of my abilities.” His first deployment to Afghanistan, Klann also missed his family back in Michigan. “I’m going home for Christmas,” the 26-year-old Dearborn, Mich., native said. “Just getting to sit down and have a nice meal and hang out with the whole family will be (good).” Besides seeing his family, Klann hopes to work on a new project. “I’m a mechanic by trade so my motorcycle I missed a lot,” he said. “I paid off a lot of bills and I bought a 1929 Ford Model A two-door sedan, which I’m going to make a hot rod of out, so I’ll probably be in the garage getting greasy quite a bit.” Gray thanked Klann for his service. “We are very proud of Corporal Klann,” Gray said. "He was able to take the prep work he contributed in the development of Operation Enduring Freedom theater overflow maintenance and refurbishment/rebuild requirements while in the MMC to actually deploying and supporting the warfighters in Afghanistan. Deploying forward is what every Marine wants to do and he did it successfully while representing the Maintenance Management Center and the LOGCOM team in Albany in a positive manner. The Marines and the civilian-Marine team greatly appreciate his personal sacrifice and we are glad to have him home with us again.”