American Forces Press Service
Oct. 15, 2009 - Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, knows what it feels like to say goodbye to a son heading off to war and the joy of welcoming him home safely. Her son Capt. Beau Biden recently returned after a year-long deployment in Iraq with the Delaware Air National Guard's 261st Signal Brigade.
Yesterday, the Second Lady traveled to Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps Air Station at New River, N.C., to be with other families who had to say goodbye to their sons, daughters, mothers and fathers. Eight hundred Marines of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion were set to depart for a seven-month tour in Afghanistan.
"We have a sacred obligation to help the men and women in our military," Dr. Biden said, "and that's why I'm here -- to talk to the families, to talk to our military, to talk to the Marines and see what they need, what their problems are, and their successes, and take it back to Washington."
While children scampered through the throng assembled for the informal meet and greet, Dr. Biden hugged Marines and family members, posed for photos and signed autographs, including one for Lance Cpl. Daniel Beldon's mother.
"From one Mom to another. Love, Jill Biden," she wrote on the shoulder of Julie Beldon's khaki-colored T-shirt. She also posed for a photo with the corporal and his mom, his two-year-old son Byron and wife Shayna.
As it turned out, the Marines and their families got a last-minute, temporary reprieve from another high-ranking Mom. They got to spend one more night together when Mother Nature sent stormy weather their way, delaying their flight until the next day.