Submitted by Angela of Powell Woulfe Photography
In December 2010, I was contacted by Megan. Her husband, Jake, had recently left for his deployment, and she wanted to make sure that he received a warm welcome home when he returned from his tour. And of course, she didn’t want to worry about who would capture those first moments as they reunited. We kept in touch as May grew closer, and finally, on Wednesday, May 25th, the day had come!
I met Megan and a few of her fellow wives at the hangar about 30 minutes prior to the anticipated arrival of HMLA-169. The hangar was filled with hundreds of people: families, parents, children, friends, neighbors and other Marines. Balloons floated in the air. Signs and banners were hung from the walls of the hangar. There was even a bounce house provided by MCCS. You could feel the anticipation and excitement in the air. And even stronger, the feeling of pride.
Well, we waited. And we waited some more. Then we went out towards the flightline, and waited some more. Then it was getting chilly (and the wind picked up) and the sun had gone down, so we went back inside to wait. By now, many people were getting restless. Who could blame them? Then everyone moved back outside to wait on the flightline for the buses to arrive. The ladies were receiving text updates from their husbands on the buses, who were just as anxious to be home.
Finally, someone yelled, “There it is!” The first bus pulled into view. And the crowd started to cheer. Smiles spread across the faces of everyone, particularly Megan. She received a text from Jake that said he was in the first bus at the head of the line; we were standing towards the rear, so we ran. (Megan ran a little faster than I did, but I managed to keep up.)
We arrived at the head of the line, and then waited some more while the Marines unloaded from the bus. Megan knew she was just moments away from holding Jake again. And then suddenly, she ran and jumped, and the rest is happy history!
I’m so happy that I could be there to document this special moment for Megan and Jake. I hope that they will treasure the photos for years to come, and maybe even share them with their children and grandchildren. Please join me in welcoming home the Vipers!!!