Currently he is "reintegration" which is a 7 day process that every soldier goes through when they come home. They do medical check ups, emotional/psychological, they do lots of briefings, and it is 7 days consecutively (except we will get Thanksgiving day off) so that there is a week's worth of accountability to make sure they aren't drinking too much or getting too crazy.
So he is there now, so I am going to full you in!
So yesterday at 3:00am I woke up and started get ready (though I was actually awake at 2, I made myself stay in bed til 3). I headed to the parking lot where everyone parks at 4am, and met up with my friends Karla and Chanel.
So we got to the hanger around 4:15 and then sat around and waited until about 5:45. At that time they let us head outside (it was about 15 degrees out, literally-- VERY cold) to greet the plane. We stayed inside until the last possible minute for Briley's sake, but when we heard "Ladies and Gentlement, the Eagles have landed!" we RAN outside to see the plane!
Here is the stairway to heaven... hehe, the one that they will eventually deplane from... the plane is stili taxiing.
and freezing all our little butts off!Lots of people had signs and fun things like that.
So then they began streaming out of the plane, all clearly very exhausted, and most scanning the crowd to get a glimpse of family. Matthew actually spotted me, and when he waved I recognized him! It was so fun! (They had their gear, including helmet on, so identifying them was very tricky).
After they arrived they got to set down their bags, weapons, body armor, kevlar (helmet), and then they formed up.
After spotting our husbands we ran back inside to defrost and wait for them to open the doors. The band began playing and as the doors were opening we heard them say "first strike"
Of course the Army had to have the Army Song sung, and the 101st Airborne Division song, and a General speak... but really the ceremony only lasted about 5 minutes, and that was good. Being able to see them RIGHT there was crazy!The General speaking.
And finally, they broke formation. We made eye contact amidst the crowds and found eachother, and embraced and... it was wonderful. It was fulfilling, it was so wonderful! I can't describe it! Of COURSE I cried, and Matthew did a little too-- it is all very overwhelming, and particularly after 4 days of traveling including one night spent on the sidewalk at the Baghdad airport (yeah...) he was a little tired :) SO good to see him, and wow, that is just a really huge understatement. My heart is in one piece again.
My cheesey and poorly hung sign was awaiting him... kind of a joke since if you know Matthew you know he's not really a giant picture of me on a banner kind of guy, but hey... this is a big deal! So you know, you gotta pull out all the stops. And as for my shoddy hanging job, I blame it on my dwarf ladder, my lack of gloves, and the 20 degree weather when I was hanging it...
We'll keep you posted on our adventures! For now I've got to go work on my final papers for school while he's at reintegration..... !
I'll leave you with the following pictures that I took off of the local newspaper- these are NOT my own photos, but some of them are neato.
See Chanel and Karla off to the right... that is Chanel's "YAY" sign!
SFC Mac is one of Matt's good friends, and his wife Joanne is one of my good friends!
Matthew is in this one, see if you can spot him! Behind him is Jonathan, and the second from the left in the front row is Luke Rella, Karla's husband!