Monday, March 2, 2009

Homecoming #2

Another 12 month deployment, our first to Iraq. (Our, like I actually went there or something!)

We had just moved to Texas when Gunner was set to deploy to Iraq. Em was 5 and Abs had just turned 2. About 4 months after Gunner left, my dad's cancer returned. We survived the deployment, and finally got word that Gunner would be returning soon.

I was actually active in our dysfunctional FRG, which ended up being a HUGE mistake, but that's a whole other story in itself. Anyway, I worked on banners and decorating the motorpool. Anything to help pass the time till he came home.

My parents kept the girls overnight the night before he arrived so I could madly clean the house. Gunner's flight was supposed to arrive at 2:30 am, so we went to the gym at 1:30 in the morning thinking that we would be arriving early. We got there and the gym was packed. Guess no one wanted to sleep and take the chance of missing their Soldier.

There was a Soldier who was left behind because a brain tumor was found, and he was the MC at the ceremony. There was music being played, kids dancing, and people everywhere. We waited.....and waited....and waited.......

At 5:00 in the morning they finally told us that the buses were leaving the airport. The crowd started screaming--me, not so much. I was exhausted. About 15 minutes later, the buses started driving by the gym. I remember my heart stopping and the tears coming. An older lady next to me, put her arm around me, hugged me and said "It's been a long year hasn't it honey". She had no idea.

Once the buses arrived, there was still no sign of our Soldiers. The MC kept having us scream, and scream, and scream. Me, still not screaming, I'm not a loud person. Gunner later told us that they thought famous people kept on walking in because the gym kept going crazy, they had no idea it was all for them. Finally the music started blaring, the smoke machine went crazy, and the strobe light was flashing. In line, our Soldiers ran in one after another, with the families getting louder and louder.

Once all the Soldiers had entered, the guy in charge (whatever he was called), called them to attention, right faced those good looking guys and the National Anthem was sung. (I really should drag out all the pics I have of these homecomings) Of course the only way for the deployment to end was the big man in charge to yell out "1-2-3" and all the families to yell "dismissed!". We searched and searched for Gunner, but he was nowhere.

Then we saw someone walking towards us. I recognized him right away, but I guess he thought that we didn't and he ripped his kevlar off. The girls attacked him, I got a hug and a quick kiss and then Em and Abs took off with him again. Our hero was home.....


Amanda said...

Oh, that just gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes. I hate those early morning homecomings...I'm always extra tired and extra emotional. I actually had the flu at the last one, so I was in no mood to be hanging out for four hours waiting. Bleh.

Uncle Dan said...

We remember the pictures of all of the Iraq returns vividly.

jlc said...

Ok first of all it is YOUR deployment. So you have every right to write "our."

Second -- I wanna see some pics!! Make me cry woman!! Your details of homecoming get me excited.