FORWARD OPERATING BASE RIPLEY, Afghanistan -- On March 25, 2004, as Amelia Huff was being wheeled into a delivery room at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital, her husband Johnny was preparing to go to war.
When a healthy Alexander Nicholas Huff entered the world that day, his father, a sergeant in Golf Battery, Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 6th Marines, was aboard the amphibious assault ship WASP waiting for a flight to take him into Afghanistan.
For the next ten weeks, as Sgt. Johnny Huff scoured south-central Afghanistan for Taliban insurgents, he carried with him the photos of the son he'd never held. Like many other new fathers in the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), Huff resigned himself to not seeing or hearing his son until his return to Camp Lejeune this fall.
A visit to Forward Operating Base Ripley by Fox News Channel's Geraldo Rivera changed all that.
Broadcast live from FOB Ripley, 'At Large with Geraldo Rivera' showcased the MEU's recent activities in Afghanistan to date, and Huff was among the 60 or so service members from drawn from throughout Task Force Linebacker in the audience.
"He'd just returned from a nighttime security patrol and wasn't supposed to be in the audience," said Gunnery Sgt. William Frye, battery gunnery sergeant for Golf Battery. "I just happened to see him after the patrol and told him to get in the crowd."
After nearly 55 minutes of interviews with MEU leadership and personnel, commentary, and interviews with military analysts and congressmen in the United States, Geraldo asked the crowd if there were any new fathers.
Huff, after prodding from his fellow artillerymen, humbly stepped forward and came face to face, via live satellite feed, with his wife Amelia and son Nicholas.
Obviously choked up, Huff, a native of Richmond, Virginia, smiled and greeted his wife and son who were seated with Fox News crews back at Camp Lejeune for the show.
Mumbling 'I love and miss you's," Huff's satellite reunion with his family was, in Geraldo's words, the perfect cap for the show.
In addition to BLT 1/6, the 22nd MEU (SOC) consists of its Command Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced), and MEU Service Support Group 22. The unit is Afghanistan conducting combat and civil military operations as Task Force Linebacker.
For more information on the 22nd MEU (SOC)'s role in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, visit the unit's web site at www.22meu.usmc.mil.