User Login    
 + Register
News : 13 Marines Get Impromptu Welcome At Chicago
Posted by Randy on 2013/11/6 5:39:26 (418 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
2014/10/24 10:28:48 - Solar Farm Topic Of Economic Development Meeting
2014/10/24 10:25:45 - Livingston County Library Encourages Reading To Young Children
2014/10/24 10:23:16 - Festival Of Trees Fund-Raiser Set For November 28th
2014/10/24 10:18:02 - Bogard Woman Seriously Injured In Accident
2014/10/24 10:13:53 - Unionville Man Injured In Accident South Of Unionville
2014/10/24 4:42:51 - 5 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Cheating On You
2014/10/24 4:29:07 - Six Bodies Identified After Decades In Oklahoma Lake
2014/10/24 4:24:30 - Peyton Manning Rips Broncos' Scoreboard Operator
2014/10/24 4:20:18 - How To Teach Kids To Be Nice Online
2014/10/24 4:14:12 - Police: Missouri Inmate Who Attempted Suicide Dies
2014/10/24 4:09:40 - 1 Taken To Hospital After Being Hit By Train
2014/10/24 4:05:48 - 8-Year Old Scores Touchdown, Team Fined $500, Coach Suspended
2014/10/23 10:42:45 - Disaster Declaration Requested For North Missouri Counties
2014/10/23 10:38:01 - THS Marching Band And Color Guard To Hold Recognition Program
2014/10/23 10:35:23 - Snow Removal Bids Sought
2014/10/23 6:38:04 - Trenton Chamber Ambassadors To Hold Annual Halloween Trick Or Treat Night
2014/10/23 6:30:41 - Chillicothe Firefighters Respond To Vehicle Fire
2014/10/23 6:26:35 - Meadville Teen Hurt In Accident East Of Laredo
2014/10/23 6:23:59 - Spickard Man Injured In Accident East Of Gallatin
2014/10/23 4:46:44 - Giant Gold Nugget To Be Sold In San Francisco
2014/10/23 4:30:00 - The Worst Things To Buy At Walmart
2014/10/23 4:17:35 - Iowa Man Pleads Guilty To Missouri Bank Robbery
2014/10/23 4:09:49 - UK Man Faked Coma For 2 Years To Avoid Court
2014/10/23 4:04:17 - Wife Of Wade Davis Forks Over World Series Tickets As Tip To Server
2014/10/23 4:00:50 - FBI Confiscates Hot-Selling Royals Panties
2014/10/22 6:42:06 - Missouri Livestock Symposium To Be Held In Kirksville December 5th
2014/10/22 4:52:49 - Dead Babies In Winnipeg Storage Unit 'Tragic Beyond Belief'
2014/10/22 4:43:12 - Two Sunken Vessels From World War II Were Just Found Off The North Carolina Coast
2014/10/22 4:34:36 - Partial Solar Eclipse to Darken US Skies Thursday
2014/10/22 4:26:06 - Homeless Man Victim Of Knock-Out Game Attack



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM