2/1 Marines Camp Pendleton Homecoming
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of shooting the Camp Pendleton homecoming of 1SG Lomeli, first sergeant of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, Golf Company. Not only did he lead his Marines during an incredibly harrowing affair in Afghanistan, but he did so with three children at home.
We arrived to the parade deck with the sun already down behind the low-lying hills surrounding Camp Pendleton. It was a warm night - not unusual for September in San Diego - but the air seemed to crackle with anticipation. There was a group of motorcycles waiting to lead the Marines in formation and each time one turned out their lights or revved their engine, the group of us waiting patiently audibly gasped. Finally, lights bearing and sirens wailing, the motorcycles came to life, ushering in the formation.
When formation broke, 1SG Lomeli's wife, two-year-old son and I snaked our way through the crowd and it was like a spotlight was shining on him, hand gripping the company flag. She slammed into him, emotion radiating off her.
A few moments later, his eldest child jumped into his arms, her sobs echoing off the walls of the barracks and mess hall lining the parade deck.
I’ve rewatched the video a few times, and can hear my own strangled sobs. I don’t cry at homecomings. But I knew I would on this night.
The courage of the families, the children, is harrowing. In the face of unimaginable challenges, they stand tall, get through each day knowing they’re one day closer and they’ve made it this far. I am so unbelievably inspired