Return of the 101st Aviation

By Scott Moody

It took a few minutes for the aircraft to enter my field of view. There were several small buildings on the tarmac where we were allowed to stand and they obscured the horizon. Finally, the old L-1011 touched down to the sound of cheers from family and friends who had anxiously awaited the return of the 101st Aviation from Iraq.

From a distance all soldiers in full combat gear look alike. Still, everyone was straining to catch a glimpse of their special someone as they filed by. When all 180 soldiers had disembarked they formed into ranks at the end of one of the hangers. Inside this hanger a brief Welcome Home ceremony awaited the 101st, but more importantly so did friends and family who had not seen their soldier for many months.

We were ushered inside where we quickly took our seats as the regimental band played patriotic songs and marches. Suddenly, they stopped playing. An officer approached the podium and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade are home." The band began playing a marching cadence, the large doors at the end of the hanger opened, and our soldiers, in perfect ranks and in perfect unison, marched back into our lives. That cadence reverberated through the entire building and brought everyone to their feet. I felt it with every fiber of my being as it reached inside me and grabbed my sole. I was moved to tears.

I shall never forget the sight of those brave young men and women returning home as combat veterans and taking their place in history. This was a pivotal moment, and we were there.

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