January 23, 2009


All the sudden the big line of Airmen and Soldiers that are dragging their bags starts slowing down as we are approaching what should be the last gateway out to the arrivals terminal in Baltimore's International Airport. Now, I can see a sign that reads:

Welcome Home US Service Members!.

A crowd of smiling faces made up of men and women of different ages and ethnic backgrounds is lined up next to the metal handrails that delimit the walk way just outside of the US Customs doors. They are holding home made banners that welcome our troops and are shaking the hands as well as hugging all 302 of us servicemen that just got out of the rotator flight arriving from Iraq.

It was so beautiful and so emotionally charged, since I could not stop thinking about the homecoming that I was receiving in the name of my boy Paquito. In just a few hours I will be repeating that scene but this time, I will be coming out of the DFW airport's arrival gate and the welcoming crowd will be composed of my wife Maria, my mom Mimi, and my sister Tita.

Monica, my almost 8 years old daughter, refused to pick me up at the airport, because she wanted me to surprise her in her classroom as I pick her up while still wearing my uniform.

There were so many tense moments as the base was attacked with rockets and mortar fire. So many times that I felt exhausted and overheated while I rode the turret of our uparmor hummer at asphyxiating hot temperatures for over 11 hours carrying an excess of 50 pounds of body armor, personal equipment and munitions. The stress of those hardships now fade and are replaced by the euphoria and happiness of our return.

I dedicate this homecoming experience to my son and to every son and daughter that did not make it back. Thank you America for your love and support


Posted by martinf at January 23, 2009 05:48 AM

Yay, Paco is back!

Posted by: Jo Shields at January 23, 2009 07:06 AM

Welcome back Paco. We're all glad for your safe return.

Posted by: Jonathan at January 23, 2009 08:50 AM

Welcome home man! Paco it is a relief to read this.


Posted by: Joe manich at January 23, 2009 09:53 AM

Welcome Back Paco!

By the way, this blog entry has some paragraphs that repeat.

I have to ask, what are your plans now?

Posted by: Daniel Morgan at January 23, 2009 10:53 AM

Welcome Home!

I'm sure it's great to be back with your family. Drop a line if you're headed out California way any time soon.

Posted by: Pete Johanson at January 23, 2009 11:33 AM

Welcome back man! I've been waiting to see this blog entry for a while now. I'm so glad to see you return safe and sound.

Posted by: Matt at January 23, 2009 12:29 PM

Welcome home, Paco! Glad to know you're OK! Saludos a Maria.

Posted by: PJ Cabrera at January 23, 2009 01:21 PM

Welcome home, Paco! It's great to see you back safely. I look forward to seeing you face to face again soon.

Posted by: Joseph Hill at January 26, 2009 09:26 AM

Welcome back Paco! We've missed you :)

Posted by: C.J. at January 29, 2009 05:07 PM

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Posted by: Horoobtaimi at January 30, 2009 02:58 AM

Yay, welcome welcome welcome!! So glad you made it back safe!! :D :D :D


Posted by: Andreia Gaita at January 30, 2009 11:49 AM

Welcome home Paco:

I'd like to share a little prayer that I found that His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama of Tibet likes to meditate on:

So long as space remains,
So long as sentient beings remain,
I will remain.
In order to help,
In order to serve,
In order to make my own contribution.

And from the 44th POTUS' inauguration speech:

...We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. ... it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

Thank you for your service, thank you for your inspiration.

Posted by: Kevin at February 3, 2009 09:06 PM