6.02.2008

The Grand Fucking Finale

Kuwait. Nightmare of customs.

Waiting. Sleep deprivation. True sand. Dangling freedom right in front of us.

One flight after another. Layovers. Sitting in a bus in the middle of nowhere in Kuwait. Popping Unisoms and watching flight attendants disappear before your eyes. Next time they open, everyone else is eating. Everyone but you, as you wipe a thick sticky streak of saliva off your cheek.

You wake up in Ireland, just long enough to smoke a cigarette and catch another briefing.

You wake up in Bangor. By the time we got to our destination, no one even seemed that excited. Only a little. I always imagined that the plane would be fucking INSANE as we were landing, like a riot of very pleased Joes that no one could contain.

The truth is that most people were too tired and worn out or self conscious to even make a sound. Scattered "Whooo!" and clapping could be heard, but ultimately, our shit was weak.

When I stepped off the plane for the last time, a three star general and several other officers were waiting. As I shook the general's hand, I really couldn't think of a profound reply, so I responded to his thanks and hooah-congratulations with a heartfelt, "WHHOOOOOO!!!!!" Fuck it, treat it all like an AC/DC concert, right?

Another briefing. Turned in our rifles. Received packets. The voices echoed in the large room and no one had a fucking clue what the important ones were saying, and really, we doubted that it even mattered. We were home.

They stuffed us on buses. And to my LEGITIMATE SURPRISE, we waited. And waited. In my wildest dreams, I always thought that when we went home, it would be an expedited process. Truth is, they drag it out so long that you can't even get excited about it.

Then we arrived at Fort Lewis. It was weird. It was the same, and different at the same time. I didn't know WHAT the hell to think. They had us form up, big mass formation, complete idiocy if you asked me. Finally we marched in, in columns of twos, to a live military band.

Cheers. Like we were fucking rock gods or something. We were heralded, and for who know's what reasons, and dammit, who cares? It was without a doubt the one and only cool part about the redeployment process. The Beatles couldn't generate this much cheering. The families looked like they were ready to tear the gym apart. Ravenous for their American Boys.

It was weird. It was like I'd never left, but at the same time, like I was going to wake up at any moment and still be in Iraq.

I got my room key, threw my bags inside, and left with the family. Steaks. Beer.





My time in Purgatory is fucking OVER. Nice ride. See you on Part 3.

45 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    Steak, beer, family.
    Wonderful!
    Welcome home!
    CB
    Anonymous said...
    Your mom sent us a picture of her, you, and Ronda. Fabulous. Priceless. Relieved. Welcome home, kid. Now, stay out of trouble. :P

    Lynda
    Anonymous said...
    Welcome Home Soldier!
    Like a son or brother coming home,
    the rest of your large 'family' of readers raise our steins, toast you, along with each of your brethren, as a man of honor should be greeted; and we
    Thank you.

    We patiently await the narration of the next segment of your journey.

    Damnned glad you're home, Ryan.

    Godspeed

    Thom Paine
    Sisu said...
    So glad you're back!
    LL said...
    And to my LEGITIMATE SURPRISE, we waited. And waited. In my wildest dreams, I always thought that when we went home, it would be an expedited process. Truth is, they drag it out so long that you can't even get excited about it.

    Like the high school girl who cock teased you for a year and then finally gave it up but she just laid there, huh?

    Glad you're home, sugar. Don't climb any clock towers.
    themorethingschange... said...
    WELCOME HOME RYAN !!!

    ~P~
    callee said...
    Glad you're home :)
    Anonymous said...
    I've been following your stuff for a long time, and have been really worried more than once when you didn't post for a while...

    Glad you're back. Safely.

    A helluva ride, indeed.

    Thanks.

    doc
    Strykeraunt said...
    "Cheers. Like we were fucking rock gods or something."

    I know from experience that the screaming is because at that moment you definitely are more than that.

    WELCOME HOME!!

    I'm glad your family could be there :D
    Shari said...
    WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!

    Welcome home soldier!!! Glad you are home safe!!! Job well done!!! (wether you believe it or not.....)
    Mezzo SF said...
    Welcome Home!
    Anonymous said...
    WOOT!!! WELCOME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!
    BigD said...
    Hi Suspect,
    Well of course you are a rock god!
    Nothing like a military band and an adoring public to bring a smile to the face and some joy to the heart of even a wily "rock-god" veteran such as yourself. Welcome home, Ryan!! I wish I could have been there to see your grand entrance.
    You deserve every happiness. God(s) bless you Specialist Ryan.

    There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good. ~Edwin Denby

    We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville
    Aprillini said...
    Yes, what BigD said. And thank the good Lord you are finally home.
    Thank you for making me smile and laugh outloud, you "wily" rock star, you.
    Wolfgirl said...
    Hi Suspect, I second what Thom Paine said, hear hear! and I know from experience...you guys are more than rock gods to your family and friends....you are our heart and soul. Welcome home.
    Anonymous said...
    Welcome Home!!
    panzermeyer said...
    Glad you are back safe and that you are done with the shit. I followed your blog from the start and what a ride, thanks for all you have done (I don't know what else to say).
    Jean said...
    Welcome home.
    Welcome home.
    Welcome HOME!
    MakesMeSmile said...
    Welcome home!
    Nicole said...
    Welcome home Suspect!
    Enjoy it!
    Don't let garrison life drive you nuts, just laugh behind their backs!
    Ky Woman said...
    Lord, we thank you that you brought Suspect, Toy Soldier and the rest of the men and women on this trip home safe! (we will see about 'and sound' later) Thank You for answered prayers...Amen.

    Suspect, ditto what everyone else has said. Welcome Home, Favorite Sons!
    Anonymous said...
    I distinctly remember in the beginning you called yourself a Greek god. What, did you get demoted Mr. Rock god? Saw the pic of you & your Mom. dude. you look rough! I believe the Montana terminology is "like a horse that's rode hard & put away wet!" Welcome home, Ryan.

    Aunt Sandy
    Anonymous said...
    Glad you made it back!
    Anonymous said...
    Welcome Home!
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/03/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    cat said...
    Welcome home, Suspect. Aw, part 2's over. Oh well. 3'll be one heckuva ride too, I bet. :)
    Cat
    Anonymous said...
    Welcome back.

    Ski
    Anonymous said...
    Hey Sandy ~ The picture must have been a deceiving....

    HE LOOKED AWESOME!!! A site for sore eyes.


    Mom
    Shoshna said...
    Soldier-
    been reading for a while. Glad you're home. Lookin forward to part 3- should be good reading!
    :)
    Anonymous said...
    A nice ride, indeed. Thanks for letting us tag along, and welcome home!
    Anonymous said...
    Welcome home Suspect(Ryan)!

    Sorry the weather is suckin'. It does that here this time of year. Hug your family and thank God you're alive and will never have to do that again.
    Welcome back to 'the world', life, friends, and family.

    Thanks for the ride!

    Again, Welcome back!

    ChrisP
    Graham, WA, USA
    Anonymous said...
    I think I speak for all of us here:

    THANK. GOD.

    and *WHEW*!!!!

    We missed you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Earl said...
    From one world to another, you have shared the trip, thank you and welcome back - I noticed that in about four returns to the States, the soap operas hadn't lost me, the people and town looked the same and only new babies proved I had been away for awhile. Take care and go gently.
    Army Sergeant said...
    Congrats. Welcome home.
    membrain said...
    You ARE a fucking Rock God dude. Glad your family was there to treat you to beers and steak.

    Just think; your back just in time for forest fire season;-)

    Looking forward to part 3.
    Vixen said...
    Hoooaahhh-haaugghh!!!!!!! Suspect is back home!!!! Let the joyful mayhem of homecoming commence.........NOW!!! Rock on!
    Anonymous said...
    Hey, tell us about the "drunk dialing"
    Gus said...
    Welcome home man, I'm so happy for you!
    kbug said...
    Welcome home!!! Eat, drink, and be happy is the order of the day..... :)

    Tomorrow, we're off to say goodbye to our youngest as he heads to where you just came from. Next year, we'll cheer at his homecoming..... :)
    ~jenn said...
    i felt like one of my own family had informed us that his boots have hit US soil... i guess that's what happens when you capture the attention of your readers as you have.

    Though i haven't commented before, your words were amazing... i looked forward to the truthful, candid, raw posts everyday.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and yourself... but most of all, for serving.

    May peace be with you... thank you... and welcome home.

    ~jenn
    Airborne dad said...
    Welcome home. I have a friend that will be arriving at Ft. Lewis just behind you. We are all glad you are home safe.
    Anonymous said...
    WELCOME HOME!
    Glad to have you back!
    LT Nixon said...
    Welcome back Suspect. I'm sorry it didn't live up to your expectations. It never does.
    Infantry Dad said...
    Welcome home Ryan.
    livingladolcevita said...
    I hope it's good.

    Keep writing.

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