On US Soil

Our flight to the US arrived at McGuire AFB, around 05:00, temperatures in the teens, Fahrenheit, and snow was falling. Once in the United States and on the ground I imagined there would be a great relief, but getting off the plane and boarding the buses did not evoke any such feelings or emotions. We were back, but no where near home yet -- we had 10 days worth of demobilization yet to endure.

On the buses people began digging their cell phones out of the bottoms of their carry on bags. My neighbor pulled his out, pressed the power switch, and began urging the phone to power up vocally, "Come on, please come on." As soon the phone was on he instantly received a text message from his daughter, clearly sent hours earlier, "Are you there yet?" He laughed and immediately started calling family and friends to say we had made it to the US. Just like my neighbor, a majority of the bus was on the phone, each ignoring the time, minutes after five in the morning, waking all those they called.

From there the buses took us across the airfield to Ft Dix, NJ where we immediately began our demobilization process, with classes in the chapel.

By Bert Stover |  February 16, 2007; 4:43 AM ET  | Category:  Demobilization
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Our pastor, Chaplain (Lt Col) John A. Weatherly, was among those recently returned from Iraq with CWO2 Stover's Virginia National Guard aviation unit. We are so happy that he will be back home with us soon at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the south Alexandria area of Fairfax County -- but we feel privileged that he could minister to our service men and women, not just in the Virginia Guard, but to all at the base and region in Iraq where he served. We are saddened that two were lost so close to the end -- as we are for all those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. We pray for their families and friends. Finally, we are thankful that most did get back to American soil safely -- and pray for a continued safe journey home from Fort Dix to joyful reunions with friends and loved ones. Let us be sure to support them as they readjust to daily life again, as many have seen and experienced things on our behalf that we are not asked to see and experience. God bless you all,

Michael A. Foughty, Lt Col, USAF (Retired)
Senior Warden, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 6744 South King's Highway, Alexandria VA 22306-1318

Posted by: Michael A. Foughty | February 16, 2007 09:09 AM

Welcome Home! All of you should be proud of what you have accomplished. You are a credit to our country. I thank God for your safe return and I pray for the well being of those that stayed behind. May God continue to bless you and help you get reaquainted with your life, jobs and loved ones.

Posted by: James | February 16, 2007 09:10 AM

Welcome home one and all. As I became involved and read the blog everyday I worried as if you were all my family. I am so glad you are all home. God speed enjoy the love that is waiting for you at home.

Posted by: Carolyn | February 16, 2007 10:56 AM

Welcome Home, Mister Stover !!

Posted by: Bill Johnson | February 16, 2007 11:58 AM

Glad to see you home chief. Good job we are all proud of you and all the Guard troops that help make up our total Army
Gary Owens.

Posted by: Robert | February 16, 2007 12:34 PM

Thank God you are back on US soil!! I know you have much to do in the next 10 days to "debrief" before you can go home to family....but you are back in the USA!! Saying Thank You doesn't seem like enough, know that we appreciate WHAT you have done for the Iraqi people and the freedoms that you are protecting for US!! I know first-hand the sacrifice you have made and your family as well....my son received word yest. his Unit will be returning in 02/08....I pray your transition back in the US will be swift and uneventful!! Walk proud!!

Posted by: Mechanic's Mom | February 16, 2007 05:09 PM

Welcome home, sir. A job well done.

Posted by: Jersey FF/Medic | February 17, 2007 10:09 AM

I hope the rhetoric and politicization of everything stateside doesn't take away from the sense of accomplishment and pride in achievment that you guys deserve.
Good to have you back, Bert

Posted by: Brad Hinely | February 17, 2007 10:19 AM

Welcome home, undying thanks from a gratefull country. May God Bless You.

Posted by: Pat Ryan | February 20, 2007 05:43 AM

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