The Sun News

Families seek help with ‘Warlords’ homecoming

WARNER ROBINS — First Sgt. Chris Adams, a Marine senior non-commissioned officer, will be coming home after seven months in Afghanistan.

Growing up in Byron, Adams always knew he wanted to be a Marine, his mother said.

“It was something that was inborn in Chris,” Houston County resident Diane Rowland said. “We don’t have any (other) family members that are Marines, but ever since he was a little bitty thing, that is all he wanted — to be a Marine.”

Adams and the rest of his unit are expected to return to Camp Lejeune, N.C., sometime this spring.

Rowland wants to make sure the homecoming for the about 700 Marines is worthy of the service they gave their country. The project she’s involved with, Operation Warlords Homecoming, will take the help of each of the Marines’ home communities.

The homecoming is an effort by family members to make sure that when the Marines from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines — known as the “Warlords” — return, they walk into the barracks and find a welcome home surprise. They envision having baskets filled with items, along with cards and letters.

Rowland said the Marine Corps provides troops the necessities, but due to the primitive conditions the Warlords have endured, the families want to do a little more.

“As families and grateful Americans, we want our Warlords to have fresh new sheets, blankets and pillows,” she said.

The Warlords have slept in sleeping bags — either on the ground or on a plywood floor — fully clothed, usually with hats and gloves to stay warm.

“After all they have done and this long deployment, we believe that they deserve to come home to a bed with all the comforts that we take for granted,” Rowland said. “They have done without, all while defending our freedom and our country.”

To fill a basket for one Marine costs $75. Monetary contributions and donated items of any amount are appreciated.

In lieu of monetary donations, the following items may be donated: white or beige twin size blankets, pillows, bath towels, washcloths, laundry baskets, shampoo, bar soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, travel-size cotton swab boxes, nail clippers, tweezers, small packs of razors, shaving cream, laundry detergent, four-packs of toilet paper, chips, cookies, candy, gum and soft drinks.

To make a donation, contact Rowland at (910) 545-9783 or e-mail her at rowladia@cox.net. The deadline for donations is April 2.

For Adams, who graduated from Peach County High School in 1993, the Marines was just where he was meant to be, Rowland said.

“He loves being a Marine, and he loves this country. Being a Marine allows him to fulfill his dream of protecting our country,” she said.

Johnny Rickerson, the automobile instructor at Peach County High, remembers Adams fondly.

“When you have someone for four years, like I did Chris, you really build a relationship with them. You are concerned about them being over there — Iraq, Afghanistan — but it makes you proud at the same time,” Rickerson said.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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