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Signal Photos

 

A neighborly send-off

Posted: September 22, 2008 7:56 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Nicholas Herrera, left, plays ping pong with his brother Jeffery during a neighborhood block party Saturday. More than 50 people turned out to send Herrera off on his third tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps.

 

Nicholas Herrera deploys to Iraq next month, but before the 23-year-old Saugus resident left for his third tour of duty, his family and neighbors gave him a proper send off with a Saturday night block party.

"The neighborhood has been awesome," Herrera said.

The Saugus High School graduate said when he returned from his first deployment, the neighborhood kids spray-painted an American flag with a happy face on the street as a welcome-back present.

Herrera serves with the 1st Battalion 4th Marines as a Petty Officer 2nd Class. He enlisted with the U.S. Navy five years ago when he graduated from high school.

"I just wanted to do something different that nobody else was doing," he said.

His deployments have been in various parts of Iraq, including Abu Ghraib and Fallujah.

He said his first two tours of duty gave him different views of the Middle Eastern country.

He believes this time will not be as tough as the previous tours, especially as more troops are expected to pull out of Iraq.

Regardless, he hopes the war in Iraq ends soon so that everybody can come home.

Herrera's mother, Alice, agrees and only wants to see her son come home safe.

"I just know that what he's doing on the front lines, it means a lot to him," she said.

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