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Proper send-off for marine as he readies for return to duty

MaryKay Gruenberg Elk Grove with Warriors Watch hugs Marine Cpl. CJ Eisenberg during surprise sendoff his home Waukegan Sunday. January

MaryKay Gruenberg, of Elk Grove, with Warriors Watch hugs Marine Cpl. CJ Eisenberg during a surprise sendoff at his home in Waukegan Sunday. January 6, 2013. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 8, 2013 6:08AM

Marine Cpl. Charles “C.J.” Eisenberg thought he would have a party with just friends and family at his parents’ Waukegan residence Sunday. The 21-year-old’s two weeks of leave ended and he is due to fly back to a Marine base in California Monday.

A group of about a dozen Warriors’ Watch Riders surprised him during the party.

“We’re here to say thank you for your service, welcome you home and wish you a safe journey,” Oliver “Ollie” Davidson of Winthrop Harbor told Eisenberg.

Warriors Watch is a troop support group that consists of veterans like Davidson, family members of veterans, and community members who want to support the troops.

Warriors Watch greets service personnel as they return home and deploy back into service. Warriors Watch also does honor missions providing honor guards for fallen heroes, including military, police and fire fighters.

The Warriors Watch came Sunday at Eisenberg’s family’s invitation.

“It was a good shock. It’s awesome that a group like this can get together and send me off,” Eisenberg said.

Eisenberg lettered in football and baseball as a Maine West High School student. He enlisted in the Marine Corps while he was in high school with a delayed entry. He said he wanted to do something different with his life rather than go straight to college from high school.

He has served about two and a half years in the Marines so far. He has spent most of the last two years in Okinawa.

He supports American operations in the Middle East.

Eisenberg has not yet decided what he will do when his tour of duty is up in about two years.

He is the only boy out of the five Eisenberg children. His father, Brad Eisenberg, is an Army veteran. Brad was happy with the Warriors Watch visit Sunday.

“I love it. I think it’s great that the Warriors Watch came,” Brad said.

One of Eisenberg’s sisters learned about the Warriors Watch organization when the family made its annual Toys for Tots donation, Eisenberg’s mother Regina said.

The surprise in Waukegan was one of two events that Warriors Watch did on Sunday, according to Dennis Louper of Crystal Lake. The other event was in Palatine. They do about 300 events per year.

“This is nothing more than to say thank you and be safe. Most of us are vets welcoming the new ones,” Louper said.

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