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      Coping Strategies for Marine Reserve Center Deployment

      More than six dozen Valley Marine Reservists are deploying this weekend in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Family and friends of the 73 who are leaving Saturday at 2pm met Thursday for a pre-deployment event held at the auditorium in Harlingen. The Yellow Ribbon event is sponsored by the Department of Defense to help Marines and their families cope with deployment. For about 30 percent of the reservists, this will be their first deployment. New wives and mothers shared with Action 4 News how they plan to deal with a year-long goodbye. Amy Chavez said she TMs turning to friends and fellow Marine wives for support. We're all friends... And we all know other Marines... Wives and girlfriends| we TMre gonna get through this together, she said. Mary Bowman started a group for other mothers whose sons are fulfilling a commitment to country. It's very helpful when your son is gone, Bowman said. I know as parents we all have the same concern for our children." Minerva Montiel-Almanza had only been married for 18 hours at the time of the event.

      She'll keep busy over the next year by planning a bigger church wedding and eventual honeymoon with her husband, Lance Corporal Agustin Almanza. His whole wedding is going to be planned out by the time he gets back, she said. So he doesn't get a choice on flower arrangements... and his tux will be all picked out!" As impossible as it may seem to say goodbye, the reservists appeared to share a common bond, and a common way to help ease the pain for loved ones: a hug and a simple promise to return. The Marines will arrive at the Reserve Center in Harlingen next to the police department at noon on Saturday, and will depart for the Corpus Christi airport at 2pm.

      They'll spend 4 months training first at Camp Pendleton in California before shipping off to Afghanistan.