Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Journey

My last post was almost a week ago, and at the time I thought I would be home by the 28th...but that was not to be. I spent the better part of 3 days feeling like I was stuck in the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

After the sand storm (of which I never really saw any evidence) there were more flight problems. I never really got the whole story, but it was something to the effect of, "they forgot to schedule flights for this air base so now they are playing catch-up."

Not cool. Not cool at all.

Anyway...after a few days of purgatory the plane finally arrived and we all made our first step in the journey towards that heavenly place called home.

Into the belly of freedom

This particular step just got us from Iraq to Kuwait, but at least we were one step closer. We arrived in Kuwait early on Tuesday morning and we were all hoping that we would fly out that evening (all Freedom flights depart Kuwait in the evening). Ahhhh...but that was not to be.

We spent about another 36 hours in Kuwaut and then departed for Shannon, Ireland on Wednesday evening. After approximately 8 hours of flight time I woke to the dizzying greenery of Ireland below. I never thought the site of vegetation could be so beautiful, but after 7 months in the desert it was a symphony to the eyes. We stopped just long enough for a cup of coffee in the airport and then we were off again.

I was travelling with our unit's Physician's Assitant, CPT Felkins (aka Doc Felkins) who helped me pass the travel time (and coincidentally helped me get my sleep schedule switched over) by giving me a happy little pill that knocked me out cold. By the time I awoke we were somewhere over the Great Lakes and I knew we only had a few hours left.

At last we found ourselves over Texas air space, and I could not stop smiling with anticipation. Once we landed and taxied towards the the gate we recieved a salute from the airport by way of two fire engines spraying the plane as we rolled through.

There was also a parade of people as we came off the plane that were there for no other reason than to cheer us on, shake our hands, and offer a snack as a show of support and appreciation. A small boy stopped me, gave me some home made cookies and said, "Thank you, sir." I thanked him back and then quickly moved through the crowd for fear that if I stopped for too long I would break down emotionally. I only wish that somehow I could let all of those people know how much I appreciate their support.

We arrived in DFW earlier than expected so I made a mad dash to the ticket counter in order to get bumped to an earlier flight, which to my elation was successful. I called Amy and let her know that I would be in a few hours earlier than expected. Her response was a mixture of joy and panic as she realized that she now had much less time to get ready.

At last, the moment arrived. The moment I have dreamed about for the past 7 months. I got off the plane and dashed through the airport trying not to be rude as I made my way through the sea of travellers. I finally saw them and as we all made eye contact the tears started to flow and we all wrapped our arms around each other and hugged a hug of joy and relief. I will remember that hug and that moment for the rest of my days.

The Uppermans together again

Me and my best friend

Like I said before, blogging will be light over the next couple of weeks. Thank you all for your continued comments and emails of support.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome home Sir! Enjoy your R&R.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what an ordeal to get back home... but thank God your there!!

You all look beautiful together, wow have the kids grown, Jen, I almost didn't recognise you!! Amy you look the best I've ever seen you!!
There is something about the "valley's" we go thru with the Lord and just makes all the really unimportant things fall away and He brings out the best in us.

I'm so happy that you will have this wonderful time together.

Love, all the Monsor's in Tennessee

9:09 AM  
Blogger SMASH said...

Two things:

1. Welcome home!

2. You had coffee in Shannon? There is a bar in that airport, you know. Open 24 hours, or at least whenever the U.S. military is passing through. They even have -- wait for it -- Guinness on tap!

I could understand if you're a non-drinker, but there's nothing like a pint of Guinness to help calm you down and get some sleep during that homebound flight over the Atlantic.

I'm just sayin'...

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Glad to see you made it home safe and sound. Enjoy the time with the family.

Once again, I will try to express my gratitude for what you are doing... Once again it will seem wholly inadequate compared to your sacrifice...

Many thanks to you, Amy, and the kids for all the you have forgone these past months.

Now get some rest... and enjoy the comparative cold front.


11:16 AM  
Anonymous MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Thank you for sharing your joy with us! What a great looking family! Welcome home!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. Thank God you made it home safely. Thank you for serving our country.
God Bless you and your family.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rest and relaxation, this is war there is not such thing. And like in baseball there is no crying in war!!
glad you made it safe and enjoy your freedom for a couple weeks. you may want to get sized for a tux while ur home sitting around doing nothing just in case you dont get back again until say march or april


4:19 PM  
Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

oh, dang, you made me cry... I can not imagine how good those hugs felt to you -- but I can tell you how much we love hugging our soldiers!

Welcome home -- have FUN, and some rest...

7:19 PM  
Blogger slipperycatsanddogs said...

I don't know you but I have to say I shed a tear or two on your behalf while reading this entry. Welcome home! You have a lovely family!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Don/Australia said...

Nice to see. Enjoy yourself and thankyou for your blogging and work in Iraq.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad you made it home to your family for your R&R ;o)
I couldn't help but cry when I read this.
I can't wait for hubbys R&R whish is soon.
Enjoy your family

11:00 PM  
Anonymous SK said...

Thank You so much for your service. Welcome home...enjoy!!

5:07 AM  
Blogger Household6 said...

Welcome home and enjoy your R&R! I hope you and yours have a great little break from the sand.


10:23 PM  
Blogger Maggie45 said...

What Nathan said!! I'd just like to add, though, that you have a most beautiful family. Thank you all.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We got back from the North Woods (no blog access there) late last night and came to the blog first thing this A.M. oh my gosh!!!! to now have real pics to go with the pics of our mind. Your family pic should be on the cover of Time or Newsweek. What an "All American " family reunion " pic it is!! Can't imagine the emotion not only of the moment then but what joy and thanksgiving must be taking place now ,to say the least. You have our prayers for all God's continued best for the Upperman household. Jer 29 is confirmed.(again) All our luv!! We're PROUD!!!! M/D Barber

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

made an error-- make that specifically Jer 29:11 Luv M/D

6:02 AM  
Blogger Chevy Rose said...

Welcome Home (dabbing tears). God bless you and yours, and America.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am LT. Colicher's sister and he just sent me this link today. I just wanted to let you know how much it means to me and my family what ya'll are doing over there for our country. I really enjoyed reading you blog and make me appreciate what we have here even more. Have a great time while you are home.

9:59 AM  
Blogger jaibone said...

Very glad you have time with your family.... wish I could have flown with a PA so I could have had a pill.... I used to stay up for two days before one of those long MAC or C140 flights...

Enjoy John... you've earned the rest.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yee haw,so very happy for you & your family.Welcome home.Stephanie

9:06 PM  
Anonymous AZPaul said...

John: My eyes were leaking as I read about your getting home for a couple of weeks! I'm sure you'll savor every minute, and we'll be disappointed if you're even just checking the comments here. God bless!

12:41 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Welcome home! Your family is beautiful. Have a safe and relaxing R&R.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,,,
Jason-*-****,,, Tears ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I was In Atlanta
( airport) last week and so glad to see some GI`s for once,,,,( ten or so )

I never got a water gun Salute from an Oshkosh ( read hemtt, het, lvs, pls, etc),,,

and even if this post is brushed aside,,, it will still note the Fact that You noted Who Your best Friend is,,,,,,,

Glad the picture was posted as such,,,I`m sending stuff off in a few days ( magazines) ,,,if I post it to "John Upperman, and company---or friends, will other guys open it? ( while Your gone?)

2:41 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Wow, what a wonderful homecoming! I'm so happy for you! Enjoy every single second of your time home.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Oh my gosh, I just cried reading your blog! My hubby cam home in June, same route as you and it was cool to see the pics along the way, thank you so much for sharing! Welcome home! I am going to put a link to your site on mine if that is ok. My dh is currently deployed as well, and the military blogs are awesome! Glad you're safe back home.
Ms. Understood
Sorry, I am still trying to figure out how to do the homepage link!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Congratulations on your safe return. I'm looking forward to a similar journey in just a few more weeks.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

What a beautiful family and what a beautiful picture you painted for us of your homecoming. Enjoy your time home!!!!!! Thank you Sir.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Welcome Home and Thanks, Sir.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Janie said...

Wonderful for You and Yours.

Those Welcome Home Hugs are a favorite of mine.

Thank you for your service.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I only wish that somehow I could let all of those people know how much I appreciate their support."

Sir, you just did. While my church group missed you by a week, you comment has been passed to them, and to Sarah, our young USO volunteer who keeps us going back.

Steve, DeSoto, TX

11:12 AM  
Anonymous johnneemac said...

I pray you can bring your family there in 30 years, with your grandchildren and still say, yeah it was worth it-thanks-

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3:28 AM  
Blogger flythemig29 said...

I'm glad you got home in one piece. I get R&R every 4 months but only make it to Round Rock twice a year. Have a Shiner Bock and some Cooper's "Q". It will be another 7 months befroe I get any!

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Rachael said...

I just wanted to say how much you touched my heart in your bio and your post here in the way you refer to your wife. My boyfriend is "over there" somewhere and hasn't been able to communicate with me in 11 months, 12 as of 9/28/05...Since I'm only a "girlfriend" I get no information from his intelligence dream, my hope and my prayer is that he thinks of me as you do of your wife and that he still believes in his heart how much I love him and want him home. Thank you for what you're doing and know that you and everyone else "over there" are in my prayers. Keep safe and God bless. Rachael

9:50 PM  

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