Wednesday, June 23, 2010

He's home!!!!

So this is a bit late, but as you can imagine, things have been a bit hectic for obvious reasons...

I'm pleased to announce that James is FINALLY home from Afghanistan! It's such a relief to know that we're done with our third deployment. Here's hoping we won't face another one for a VERY long time -- might not be the case, but I sure can hope!

So going back to Sunday (which also happened to be Father's Day), while hanging out with a friend to watch the most recent Army Wives, I got the official call from Rear D. That call is the one that, as the deployment nears its end, you anxiously await. It typically consists of a soldier saying their name and announcing that your soldier is on the incoming flight from downrange. He informs you of the flight arrival time, as well as the homecoming ceremony time. Once you get that call, you know that you have 24 hours or less until your soldier is home.

To say the least, I was relieved and excited to get that call. We were finally at the end of this hell, and it would SOON be over! Unfortunately, come Monday afternoon, I got another call from Rear D announcing a delay in the schedule. Typical, but still frustrating.

Out of curiosity, I googled James' flight thinking that it might possibly be available. Of course, I figured with OPSEC, I'd be out of luck. Well, much to my surprise, there is a website that tracks these flights with live feed! I was slightly shocked that the information was so public. It showed the estimated flight schedule as well as the actual departure times, etc. You could even track the plane as it went over each state and watch the countdown (to the minute) until it landed. I'm very thankful for this website, because it helped in getting to James' homecoming on time.

Even though Rear D was successful at giving us one update, apparently they didn't deem it necessary to update us with any further changes. According to the website, their flight was to arrive an hour earlier than what I was told. At about the time that the website claimed as the arrival, I called Rear D just to verify the times. The guy that answered said that, yes, the flight was landing right then. Great! An hour earlier than we were told, which means less time to get things ready to go! No complaints though. That meant an hour earlier that we'd be able to be together again.

Due to that craziness, I raced to base. I figured between the different delays and Rear D's inability to update us on accurate information, I wouldn't risk getting there too late. It ended up that I got to wait an hour in the gym with the rest of the families, while watching our guys on a live feed of them in-processing. It didn't really matter to me one way or another if I saw all of that, but I ended up watching it since my surroundings wasn't exactly my ideal preference right now. Apparently half the brigade had babies over the last year -- or so it seemed. It was babies galore, and by the time the guys did finally arrive at the gym, I was ready to get the heck out of there. Had things gone as they should have, Liv would've been there ready to greet her dad. Instead, it was just me, and seeing everyone so happy with their infants was pretty much torture.

Oh well. I knew that would be the case. I had told James a month ago that he would have to meet me at the truck. I had no intention of surrounding myself in such a situation. However, I later realized I'd want pictures to capture the official ceremony so I sucked it up and went.

As usual, they had the Army band playing while we waited. They then had some local talent play some song about freedom -- you know, trying to build up that sense of pride right before the guys walk in. By the time that was over, we knew it was time. On the other side of the gym, behind the curtain, were our soldiers in formation waiting. As they lifted the curtain, the screams and cheers were let out and the ceremony began. Thankfully, the Col. chose to make a super quick speech -- as opposed to those where they like to hear themselves speak -- before releasing our guys. At that time, it was done and OVER. When they got the final word, the families ran ahead trying to find their guys in the mess of camouflage.

It took me for what felt like forever to find James. I told him later that next time he should take off his patrol cap, because that bald head would be much easier to spot in the crowd, ha. Come to find out, he went back to get his bags after they were released and that's why I couldn't find him. By the time I did, the long hunt didn't matter. We stayed in the gym long enough to have a friend take our picture and got the heck out of there. Besides...James couldn't wait to see his new truck!

Once we got all of his gear, we headed to the truck and headed home. It was cute. As he drove home, he kept commenting on the truck and various aspects about it. I'm glad everything worked out and we were able to get exactly what he wanted. It's something he's wanted for years after missing his truck from college, so it's great that he's able to enjoy it now. We had delayed buying one for so long due to gas prices among other things, but we finally said to heck with that and bought one anyways. Even though I might have a heart attack every time he fills up that tank (compared to my Vibe that gets 37mpg!), it's nice to know he'll be in heaven every time he's in it.

I guess the only thing that was left after all of that was the homecoming between James and Obadiah. To say the least, the Basset was INCREDIBLY happy to see his dad. It's always fun to see them reunite, as Oba goes nuts with excitement. The only time that wasn't the case was when James came home for Olivia's delivery and funeral. Oba knew something was up and wasn't happy to see James. However, this homecoming was much more like what we usually experience, and Oba greeted him with lots of kisses.

Below are various pictures from the homecoming ceremony and afterwards...

The Army band playing while we waited...
The crowd waiting for the arrival of their soldiers...
The ceremony was about to begin, and the crowd began to cheer...

The Col. telling everyone how proud he was of our soldiers, etc...

The final salute...
It's OVER!!!!!
James was very excited about his truck...
And of course, couldn't help but celebrate a little -- I mean, it was one hell of a year...
Lastly, Oba did what he does best...steal James' socks... (I think he was in mid bark here)

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! I got chills and tears in my eyes...it reminded me of th welcome home ceremony of my husband a year and a half ago. I was so excited when the buses pulled up. I could not find him, and it was because he saw me first and made it a point to sneak up behind me and pick me up and spin me around while kissing the back of my neck...i WISH someone had gotten a picture of that!! anyway, I am so happy your hubby is home, and now you can have your family, and Liv is looking over you guys smiling! All of my prayers are being sent your way, hoping you have a post deployment present;)

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