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Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty, left, gets a chance to chat with wife Sheila and children L.J. and Victoria before his reenlistment via video teleconference Friday. Liechty is deployed to Baghdad with Combined Joint Task Force-7.
Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty, left, gets a chance to chat with wife Sheila and children L.J. and Victoria before his reenlistment via video teleconference Friday. Liechty is deployed to Baghdad with Combined Joint Task Force-7. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)
Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty, left, gets a chance to chat with wife Sheila and children L.J. and Victoria before his reenlistment via video teleconference Friday. Liechty is deployed to Baghdad with Combined Joint Task Force-7.
Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty, left, gets a chance to chat with wife Sheila and children L.J. and Victoria before his reenlistment via video teleconference Friday. Liechty is deployed to Baghdad with Combined Joint Task Force-7. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)
Four-year-old Victoria Liechty sits on her mother's lap and shows off her new necklace to her father, Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty, during a video teleconference call Friday.
Four-year-old Victoria Liechty sits on her mother's lap and shows off her new necklace to her father, Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty, during a video teleconference call Friday. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Gunnery Sgt. Larry D. Liechty put technology to work Friday to include his family in his re-enlistment ceremony.

Liechty, an Okinawa-based Marine, is deployed to Camp Victory in Baghdad. His wife, Shelia, and children — L.J., 9, and Victoria, 4 — are holding down the home on Okinawa.

To ensure they could see him dedicate four more years to the Marine Corps, the 12-year veteran re-enlisted in front of a videophone in Iraq.

The embarkation and logistics chief from Okinawa’s Marine Air Control Group 18 left Okinawa on Jan. 4 to work with Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Baghdad.

Liechty said it was great seeing his family on the monitor.

“In the hook and jab, I’m a fighter,” said Liechty, who choked up at one point during his post ceremony speech while talking to his family. “I’m doing everything I can to hold it back right now, but they know how I feel.”

Sheila and the children talked with Liechty privately before the ceremony began.

She said she was “very relieved” to see he was doing fine, especially after all that’s been happening in Iraq recently.

“It was very overwhelming,” she said. “But I’m proud of everything he’s done, especially now because he’s trying to make things better [for the people of Iraq].”

While talking to their father, L.J. held up a video game he recently got and Victoria showed off a necklace, saying, “Look at the new necklace mommy bought me.”

When asked if their Dad missed them, L.J. replied, “We miss him more. It’s not fun on Saturdays now. He’s not there at my soccer games, he’s not there for family night, and he can’t watch ‘Survivor All-Star’ with us.”

After the short “family time,” the ceremony was held. Members of Liechty’s Okinawa unit filed into the conference room to watch the event. The re-enlisting officer in Baghdad was the 3rd Corps commander, Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, who said he was happy to re-enlist the Marine.

“My first thought was that I was proud another servicemember would ask me to re-enlist him,” Metz said. “It was my honor.”

Before the ceremony ended, Sheila was given a certificate of appreciation for her role in the Marine Corps family and a bouquet of flowers by her husband’s command.

After the ceremony, Liechty thanked everyone and said he was proud to be serving and was doing so for all of them.

“You see a lot of bad press out here, but when you see a little boy or little girl waving to you along the road, or a woman farming in a field, you realize what we’re doing here is important,” he said, adding that when he sees Iraqi children it reminds him of his own. “We can give a little of the freedom that we enjoy every day that they have never had.”

Liechty said he’s scheduled to return to Okinawa in July.

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