Islanders welcome Cpl. MacMullen home
As Cpl. Duncan MacMullen, USMC, drove his maroon truck off a freight boat in Vineyard Haven Tuesday morning, police and fire truck sirens wailed as a cheering crowd and a color guard from the Vineyard Haven American Legion Post #257 welcomed him home from Iraq.
Corporal MacMullen serves as a mechanic in the General Service Maintenance Platoon, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, (-) (Reinforced), at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was deployed in February to Camp Al Taqaddum (also known as "Camp TQ" by military personnel) in Iraq, located approximately 46 miles west of Baghdad.
Corporal MacMullen's younger sister Dawn and his mother, Nancy MacMullen, owner of The Cobbler Shop in Oak Bluffs, drove his truck to Camp Lejeune to meet him on his arrival back in the States on Sept. 13. They flew home so he could drive back in his truck to Massachusetts this week after completing processing and paperwork.
Nancy MacMullen embraced her son Duncan, home to the Vineyard after a tour in Iraq. Photo by Ralph Stewart
On Tuesday morning, although he missed the boat he planned to take, the 8:15 am Island Home, Corporal MacMullen's arrival on the freight boat that followed 15 minutes later proved no less dramatic. He smiled and shook his head in disbelief when he saw the cheering crowd. His grandfather, Hugh Schwarz of Vineyard Haven, American Legion member Mike Fontes, and his mother held up a red, white, and blue banner reading "Welcome Home, Cpl. MacMullen, Job Well Done."
"The last time he got off a boat to a celebration like this was in 2004 when he was on the high school football team and they won the championship," his mother recalled. In addition to the fanfare at the dock, Tisbury police officers gave Corporal MacMullen a police escort home.
Born in Oak Bluffs, Corporal MacMullen attended Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and was a linebacker on the football team. After graduating in 2004, he worked as a carpenter and maintained lawns until enlisting in the Marines in April 2005.
Corporal MacMullen said he is looking forward to spending about a week and a half's leave on the Island. "There is such a special kind of atmosphere here - you don't truly appreciate it until you're away from it," he said, adding that he missed the water the most.
With about one and a half years left in his military commitment, Corporal MacMullen will return to work at Camp Lejeune until assigned elsewhere.