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COUNTRY CLUB HILLS (CBS) – Just over 24 hours after President Barack Obama announced that one of America’s longest wars was coming to a close, a young man who served in that conflict was back home in the Chicago area on Saturday.
CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli was there when the 28-year-old pilot was welcomed back from Iraq.
Dozens of bikers formed a flag line to welcome an Iraq war veteran back to Country Club Hills.
Chief Warrant Officer Greg Holley had no idea this type of greeting awaited him when he pulled up.
“Wow, I’m speechless,” said Holley.
And with that, the Apache helicopter pilot walked out and into the awaiting arms of more than 100 people. His mom engineered the surprise and was still playing dumb when they drove up to line of red, white and blue.
“She got me good. She was driving up she was like ‘Oh, what’s with all the flags?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s all these flags,’” Holley said as dozens of motorcyclists laughed out loud.
The flags were held by men, women and children who didn’t know him, but who cared enough anyway to come out to show their appreciation for his service.
Holley came home one day after his Commander in Chief announced that by the end of the year all of the remaining troops will be pulled from Iraq. That made the homecoming even more special for Holley.
“I’m happy that the mission is done. We all fought hard and I’m happy to be home,” said Holley.
As happy as he was, his mom was even more so.
“Words can’t explain to know how ecstatic I am to know that the troops are coming back to the United States to be on their home ground. It’s time,” said Christine Holley Davis.
And then the flag line became a line of motorcycles escorting Holley and his family to the Village Hall for a meeting with the mayor.
That’s where they struck up the band to welcome a young father who along with others in the armed services can for the first time in eight years promise loved ones that he won’t be going back to Iraq.
“I was joking with mom saying I am getting tired of the desert and am ready for a different change of scenery,” said Officer Holley.
Holley will now be deployed to Kentucky, where he is attached to the famed Flying Tigers unit.
He just celebrated the birth of a baby daughter three weeks ago.