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Family grateful for Moorhead Marine's holiday return

MOORHEAD - Mary and Don Kramvik of Moorhead have many reasons to be thankful.

And a major one will be sitting at the dinner table today.

Their son, Adam, a Marine Corps lance corporal, is home on leave after an eventful tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Prior to her son's return from Afghanistan in October to his home base at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Mary Kramvik didn't feel relief until his plane touched ground in the U.S.

"It was like a concrete block was being chipped away from my heart and the closer he got to home the more pieces fell off," she said. "You just have this heaviness in your chest the whole time your child is in danger."

And Adam Kramvik was in danger in Afghanistan, where his unit worked in areas saturated with improvised explosive devices.

The following is part of a statement issued by the military when it recently awarded Kramvik the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his conduct under fire:

"One example of his courage included him carrying a mortally wounded Marine across more than 100 meters of open terrain as enemy fire snapped around him and impacted the ground at his feet during an enemy ambush."

"That was quite an achievement, to get that medal. We're very, very proud of him," Mary Kramvik said of her son, a 2005 graduate of Fargo Shanley High School.

Adam Kramvik declined to be interviewed for this story, but at the time he received his medal he said the best part of being deployed was the camaraderie with fellow Marines.

Family members waiting for Kramvik when he arrived in California last month included his wife, Mary, and their infant daughter, Hailey, who met her father for the first time.

Adam's mother said having a loved one in harm's way is difficult, but it helps to have a support network, like the group of Marine moms that meets once a month to share stories and coping strategies.

"They were a tremendous help to me, first when he signed up and then when he went on deployment," she said of the other moms.

One of the things she learned was how to mail a CARE package.

"We were told right from the start that socks were really important," she said.

"They don't really have laundry facilities over there," Kramvik added. "About the only time they have clean socks is when they have new socks. We sent a lot of socks."

The family's Thanksgiving dinner will be at the Moorhead home of Mary Kramvik's parents, Jim and Isabelle Wenner. Many relatives will be there.

"We're very thankful everybody is home safe and sound," Kramvik said, adding her thoughts will also be with those who have loved ones in the military who cannot be home today.

"I think a lot of people don't realize there are guys getting wounded and killed over there and that there is still combat going on."

Adam Kramvik has two years to go in the Marine Corps with one more deployment yet to serve.

His mother hopes the rest of his service will be quieter. His next deployment is expected to be as part of a Marine contingent serving on board a Navy ship.