An American soldier is back from Iraq

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Kenny Wilder
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Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:13 am

A few days ago my wife and I received an e-mail from Monica, a very good friend about Greg who arrived from 12 months service in Iraq. Greg is a Colonel in the United States Army and was stationed in Bagdad. It seems like just yesterday when my wife and I attended a reception about a year ago in Atlanta in honor of Greg’s departure to Iraq. Greg and Monica are to be married in August. Below is the e-mail message that we received about Greg’s arrival and reunion in the USA. Greg we love you and thank you for serving our great country. We are so happy that you are back home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:05 AM

Hi Everyone,

Great news....Greg arrived at Pope AFB yesterday afternoon!!! He looks great and hasn't stopped smiling. The plane with approximately 250 soldiers landed on the airstrip with family / friends inside of a spacious receiving building. When it was announced that the first of two flights landed (right outside our door), the large rolling door crept up and the crowd inside went wild. Flags and banners were shaking with excitement. Children were wide-eyed with a touch of fear and confusion. Many of the cars outside were painted with "We missed you Daddy". One sign read, "Daddy - We're going to Chuck E Cheese". Hmmm - sounds like he made a promise that he will be held to!

Once outside, we were allowed to stand at a distance (lining the sidewalk into the building) but for security reasons were prohibited from taking pictures or video while on the airstrip. Nearly every face had both tears and smiles. Our eyes were glued to the plane door with anticipation. Before they began to exit, 4 planes flew overhead with a pronounced and graceful "wave" of appreciation to our heroes. Each circled around and with them they took our heartstrings. I later learned that the soldiers did not see or know about this - just one of the many examples of thanks that our soldiers and veterans aren't aware of. Unfortunately, they don't always hear or see our appreciative gestures for their bravery and sacrifices.

I had no way to know if Greg was on the first flight OR if I would have to wait another hour or two for the second. Are any of you surprised that Greg was one of the first 50 off of the FIRST plane? As they stepped back on American soil for the first time in many months, ah the things that they must have observed first. Was it the smell of nature instead of a stench? Was it the lack of dust that they battled when inhaling? Was it the smiles coming from women in and children that were free to be expressive? I'm not sure but as we stood facing each of them (in formation for the Star Spangled Banner (only an arms length distance in separation) the emotions were overwhelming for many of the soldiers and the loved ones alike. What a fantastic and long-awaited day for us to know he is back! The reunion was only several minutes - there was lots of work to be done to move bags, weapons and people so that the next flight could make its way in. Thanks to the use of cellular technology, Greg was able to make a quick call before loading the bus traveling to the other side of the base. His face beamed as he was able to make say "hi" to his parents from within the United States. From his reaction, it was finally a clear signal on the phone line and a clear signal about how thrilled they were to know he was back before they flew out of the country several hours later.

It will be 1-2 weeks before the activities of out processing are completed. Tessa, Greg and I will remain in NC but will keep you posted on our return plans. For now, we are completely thrilled just for Greg to be back safely!!

Thank you for all being so supportive. I'll send photos and videos soon. Have a beautiful day.

Monica
Last edited by Kenny Wilder on Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:13 am, edited 4 times in total.
Kenny Wilder
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beachewoman
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Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:19 am

Welcome Back Greg! :D
nannie m
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Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:39 pm

Yes welcome back!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. God bless you and your family.
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AngelGirl
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Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:50 pm

Welcome Home, Colonel! Thank you and God bless you for your service. Blessings upon your coming marriage ~ may you two have many, many years of happiness together. May all your troubles only be Little Ones! :-)

Blessings,
A.G. & Big John
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EastBayBabe
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Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:10 pm

Welcome back, Greg, and thanks to you and all the other military for protecting all of us. Our prayers go with you all. Great you're back home.

EBB
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