A Camp Lejeune Marine has been carrying something around with him in Afghanistan that's a bit out of the ordinary for a Marine -- a teddy bear.
Sgt. Anthony Ortiz, a combat cameraman with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, picked up the hard to find gift for his three year old daughter's birthday which he'll miss because of his deployment.
The California native put the floppy-eared stuffed animal into his pack, and it accompanied the Marine throughout the Helmand province.
"It's giving her a little bit of myself and all my travels," said Ortiz. "I'm giving her the experience of where I've been through this teddy bear … It can represent all the different landmarks we hit together. Then I'll send it to my daughter because at every place I've been, all around Afghanistan, up and down, she was always on my mind."
Ortiz posed with the bear at different locations he visited and says he definitely got some looks from fellow Marines. "I loved it. As soon as I told them why I was doing it, everybody else's eyes just flared up. They wanted to do the exact same thing," he said.
Last Thursday the Marine gathered the photos, a handmade birthday card, along with the teddy bear and boxed it all up to be mailed back to his daughter in Manassas, Virginia.
He promises his daughter a nicely wrapped gift for her birthday next year.