Sgt Keyser is the spouse of our own in-house hero, Sharon, founder of A Hero’s Welcome and recent graduate of Marine Corps OCS herself. Ian has been in Afghanistan for a long and hot and dangerous 15 months, and his homecoming was long awaited and keenly anticipated. All the more disappointing then when severe thunderstorms moved in and the flight was delayed….and delayed…and delayed…and canceled.

Warriors Watch received word early that the flight, originally scheduled for a 7pm arrival, had been pushed back an hour, but we proceeded on schedule just in case. We arrived at our friends place, Engine 69, at about 1730 and began what became a long wait. We moved to the airport at 1830 and it wasn’t long after that the bad weather began to move in.

A lot of people had plenty of time to get to know one another better and to build friendships that night. Leslie and her crew from The Yellow Ribbon Club, Charlie Becker and Lil and Sharon And Maria from A Hero’s Welcome, and of course us biker-types, all hanging out with flags and balloons and being followed around the airport by TV cameras and drawing very curious looks from travelers.

In the end, Ian gave up and took a train. Because the weather wasn’t improving and many of our riders had a long way to ride, and we didn’t know when the train ride would be, we sent them home at around 10pm while his family made their way to 30th Street station.

Ian’s plane, thanks to Warriors’ Watch Friends in the airport control tower, had been given priority to leave New York ahead of the line, but I learned later that that at one point there were 70 planes lined up in New York waiting to leave and it was physically impossible to maneuver Ian’s plane around that pack.

REGARDLESS, WE OWE ALL OF OUR FRIENDS A HUGE DEBT. A lot of people put up with a lot for us, and for the opportunity to bring one soldier home from war like the hero he is. Airport Police, PA State Police, Air Traffic Controllers, even the television camera crew from Channel 6 that stuck with it all night and finally got their story at 30th st. station at around 1 in the morning.

So despite mother nature’s best efforts to stop him, Sgt. Keyser is now home, and no one is more pleased than his wife Sharon and their families.

That’s the bottom line.

Photos by Sean – click here for more