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Columbus Marine Unit Enroute to U.S.

A Marine reserve unit from Columbus which took heavy casualties in Iraq is enroute back to the U-S. Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines is scheduled to arrive at Camp LeJeune on Friday. While Central Ohio prepares to welcome the reserve unit back home. One marine anticipates a more personal, emotional reunion.

38 year old Marine Sargeant Larry Bowman left his job with the Ohio Highway Patrol in Licking county to join the Marine Reserves. He headed a rifle platoon for Lima Company as it started its mission last March.

As part of what the military calls "Operation Matador," Lima Company fought along the Iraq-Syrian border. Master Sargeant Stephen Walter says the reserve unit lost 16 marines killed in action during its deployment.

Sargeant Larry Bowman returned home early. Not by choice. His platoon entered Yubaty City, in western Iraq on May 8th. It was the first time in more than a year that any American troops had entered the city and Bowman says it was well defended.

Priot to May 8th, Bowman says his marines had faced small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades. But, when the unit entered Yubaty they were caught by surprise. Bowman says the enemy had dug out floors inside the houses.

Bowman's entire rifle platoon was either killed or injured that day. He suffered a leg wound as he went to check on members of his unit inside a house.

Lima Company will remain activated until at least January. Its undetermined whether it could be called on again for duty in Iraq. Bowman says "hopefully" if the unit is re-deployed he'll be able to go with them.