Thursday, January 12, 2006

Homecoming


Well the trip was as expected, except for one thing.

I managed to keep myself awake for the most part for the last two days I was there. Slept three hours in the afternoon for the last two days, and then stayed up all night. My goal was to sleep on the way home, and to reset my internal clock so as not to be jetlagged when I got home. That part worked. But when I was in line to get on the plane I thought I was going to die. And then they pushed the flight back.

In the afternoon the day before I left, I had to turn in my badge and key, thus keeping me out of both the CAOC and my room. So when it's 40 degrees outside, at four AM, I was absolutely miserable just walking around the compound alone to keep warm. Eventually though, we got on the plane, and I was out before engine start. I vaguely remember the passnegers cheering as we took off, but that's about it for the first four hours.

Eight hours later we landed in Shannon, Ireland. The one little bar in the terminal was apparently used to rotators coming through, because they managed to serve 200 people in about 15 minutes. Got to have my Guiness and Bass Ale in Ireland, pretty much the only thing I wanted to do there besides golf on St. Andrew's with my Dad which wasn't happening on this trip. We mounted back up and eight hours later were, finally, back on US soil.

Unfortunately I had to spend the night in Norfolk, VA at a hotel. In addition to that the wonderful AEF Center that coordinates our travel had me flying out at 1730, which got me into Tucson at 2330. Not good if you have kids that want to see Daddy get off the plane. With a lot of phone calls and rolling of the dice I managed to go standby to get on earlier flights, and pull into home port at around 1915.

Emily (first time I've seen her prego in 5 years) and the kids were at the bottom of the ramp, with the kids holding a giant "Welcome Home Daddy" poster. When they saw me they dropped the poster and just ran up the ramp. MFEMF and I were crying, and Sammy was just laughing away. It was the happiest moment I've had in a year. Surprising, the unexpected part, was who else was there.

My two Colonel bosses, the head one's wife, and the Captain that runs our deployment issues were all waiting for me (just me, since I was the only one on the plane from my unit) with my family. I don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but they did, in fact, send a package to the enlisted girl who we thought went without one at Christmas. In one full swoop they managed to make up for all the bitching I've done over the past six months. That was very cool. I seriously doubt anyone else coming home had they're O-6 bosses go out of their way to actually meet them at the airport. On top of that he gave me the next day off, telling me not to come in until Friday to do my inprocessing stuff. That whole scene meant quite a bit to me.

5 comments:

  1. Oh wow. So very glad that you are home... :)

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  2. Glad to hear that you had a great reception when you arrived!!! (the family one, that is!) Just sounds like kids - drop the banner and hit ground runnin' for ya! :) God's Blessings got ya home safe to your family.

    As for the O-6s, it is cool to say the least. I think that it does show that everyone supports your efforts. And even better to lock the feeling home for you, I suspect.

    Thanks for being there for us! I'm grateful, and so is my entire family!

    Take care, and I'm looking forward to your "home-based" postings to your blog!

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  3. Congratulations man!!!!

    Sounds like a well deserved "Welcome Home!"

    Put in an extra "hug" for the little ones for me!

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  4. Welcome home. I know you have some adjusting to do and some much needed "play time" with the kids to make up. :)

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