User Login    
 + Register
News : 13 Marines Get Impromptu Welcome At Chicago
Posted by Randy on 2013/11/6 5:39:26 (507 reads) News by the same author

CHICAGO (AP) — A group of Marines on their way home from Afghanistan got something they didn't expect after spending the better part of five days getting on and off planes as they tried to get from one side of the globe to another: cheers from a small crowd of police, a fire truck water salute and first-class plane tickets.

Click to see original Image in a new window

The 13 Marines found themselves treated like heroes Monday night at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after a retired Marine and others scrambled to make sure they were thanked in style before departing on the final leg of their journey to San Diego.

After their plane taxied beneath an arch of water from fire department hoses in what is called a water salute, the Marines walked into the terminal and were met by a small crowd of cheering USO volunteers, firefighters, police officers and airport workers.

A short time later, boarding another jet for San Diego, the Marines learned that American Airlines — which has a policy to upgrade servicemen and women in uniform whenever possible — had six empty seats in first class for the group. That gesture was followed by seven first-class passengers who jumped out of their seats for the other Marines so they could sit together.

"It was incredibly touching," Capt. Pravin Rajan said in a telephone interview from Camp Pendleton in California. "Afghanistan is a very complex and ambiguous war ... and a difficult thing to keep track of so it is amazing when we are 10 years (into) a war and there is still that kind of community, that level of support, the level of willingness to go out of one's way."

The welcome home started with a phone call. Stephanie Hare, a native of Illinois who now works in England, called the USO at O'Hare and explained that her fiance, Rajan, who had served seven months in Afghanistan, was with a dozen other Marines on a plane bound for Chicago from Baltimore.

"I just thought if they could get them some Chicago pizza, champagne or something, that would mean a lot," she said.

On the other end of the line was John Colas, a 74-year-old former Marine USO volunteer. He told Hare he'd try to do something in the hour or so before the flight landed. But he cautioned that while volunteers make an effort to welcome military personnel whenever they come through the airport, he wasn't sure he could pull anything off in such a short time.

Colas got on the phone with the police and fire departments, the airlines and anyone else he could think of.

"There must have been 15 Chicago firemen and an equal number of Chicago police and they formed a corridor for the Marines when they got off the airplane," he said.

Rajan said the Marines didn't know what to make of it, starting with the slightly unnerving experience of looking out a plane window to see a fire truck.

"For a second, we were like, 'Are we in trouble?'" he said.

After they realized the reception was for them, the Marines soaked in the scene, even as they said police officers hustled them off to another gate so they'd make their flight to San Diego.

"They were just so thankful — very, very appreciative," said Linda Kozma, an American Airlines employee who helps military personnel flying in and out of O'Hare.

Hare didn't know about any of it until she woke up Tuesday and heard Rajan relating the whole story in a voice mail.

"I just thought it was really beautiful," she said.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/7/4 12:40:10 - Princeton Woman Dies, 3 Injured During Early Morning Accident In Mercer County
2015/7/3 6:30:16 - Scammers Target Chillicothe Residents
2015/7/3 6:24:26 - Gallatin Woman Arrested On Multiple Charges After Injury Accident
2015/7/3 4:51:14 - Bridge South Of Gallatin Set To Close For 3 Weeks
2015/7/3 4:44:53 - Fireworks Go Off At Dark Tonight In Trenton
2015/7/3 4:28:38 - Miss Missouri Comes Home
2015/7/3 4:00:00 - Man's Obituary Simply Reads "Doug Died"
2015/7/3 4:00:00 - Police: Woman Dies In Boone County Courtroom
2015/7/3 3:59:53 - French Mother Gets 9 Years In Prison For Killing 8 Newborns
2015/7/2 8:58:03 - Wright Memorial Hospital Foundation Receives Grant From Union Pacific
2015/7/2 8:49:30 - Trenton Park Board Meets
2015/7/2 8:45:38 - Tri-County Board Of Education Approves Budget
2015/7/2 6:35:02 - Teen Receives Serious Injuries, Demolishes Vehicle In Accident Near Green City
2015/7/2 4:43:49 - Macon Officials Dedicate Solar Farm
2015/7/2 4:38:49 - Police: Missouri Man Kills Self During Standoff
2015/7/2 4:29:07 - Missouri Public Service Commission Rejects Plan For Multistate Wind Power
2015/7/2 4:12:53 - Police: Bomb Found In Car During Springfield Traffic Stop
2015/7/2 4:09:03 - New Law In Effect Allows Kansans To Carry Concealed Weapons Without Permit
2015/7/2 4:03:37 - School Charges Mother $77,000 For Access To Emails Involving Son
2015/7/1 7:36:28 - Chillicothe Man Injured When Pool Carries Him Out Of Pickup
2015/7/1 6:37:47 - Clerk Accused Of Shooting Teen Allegedly Over Theft Of Cookies
2015/7/1 6:31:57 - Boy Found Chained To Porch With Chicken Around Neck Speaks Out For First Time
2015/7/1 5:28:17 - Public School Application Asks If Child Was Born By C-Section
2015/7/1 4:45:45 - Mom Arrested After Boy 4, Left Tied On Leash To Bush
2015/7/1 4:36:46 - Death Of Boy Pushed In Swing For 3 Days Ruled Homicide
2015/7/1 4:30:00 - Former Circuit Clerk From Northeast Missouri Enters Plea
2015/7/1 4:24:53 - Teens Storm Georgia Wal-Mart In Wild Rampage Of Destruction
2015/6/30 6:31:13 - Mosaic To Offer Reduced Cost Sports Physicals
2015/6/30 4:47:08 - Son Arrested After Argument Over Spoiled Meat
2015/6/30 4:34:11 - Woman Gives Birth Alone On Back Road, Is Stranded With Newborn For Three Days



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM