Monday, August 11, 2008

This time, tears of joy

We covered the heartbreaking news from Afghanistan last month in which 9 US troops were killed in an attack on a US held base, including local soldier Pruitt Rainey.

Today we come across the heartwarming news that another local soldier, who survived that attack, is coming home:

THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) -- Less than a month after being attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan, Sergeant Matthew Gobble is returning home to the U.S.

Sgt. Gobble is scheduled to arrive back in the Piedmont around 9 p.m. at Piedmont-Triad International Airport.

Matthew Gobble had been deployed since May 2007, and was stationed in Valencia, Italy.

Since the attack last month, Gobble has been in rehab in Europe. He suffered shrapnel wounds when a grenade exploded nearby.

Gobble, a 2001 graduate of East Davidson High School, joined the army immediately following high school.

Haw River native, Specialist Pruitt Rainey, was killed in the attack along with eight other soldiers.

More coverage here:

Sgt. Matthew Gobble, a 24-year-old U.S. Army paratrooper and East Davidson High School graduate, was serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Wanat, Afghanistan, when he and a group of other American and Afghan troops were attacked by enemy forces July 13. Nine soldiers were killed in the attack, and several more were injured, including Gobble. One of the soldiers killed in the attack, Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey, was from Haw River.

Since suffering the injuries, Gobble has been recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, but he is coming home to Thomasville on Monday to see his mother, Sandra Gobble; father and stepmother, Mike and Marcia Gobble; grandmother Rene Gobble; and other family members. Family friends Alisha and James Dale want to make his homecoming a remarkable event that will let Gobble know how much his service and valor means to others.

“We want to line the streets with people waving flags and clapping for him to see as he travels to his mom’s home,” said Alisha Dale, who served in the U.S. Army for four years. [...]

The Dales ask that anyone who wants to participate in the coming-home celebration meet at the Big Chair in Thomasville at 9:30 p.m. Monday. Then they will spread out as long as the line will allow down Main Street toward National Highway. Gobble’s escorted motorcade is expected to travel from National Highway down Main Street.

In fact, his car at the airport will be met by the Patriot Guard Riders, a veterans’ group of motorcycle enthusiasts, and escorted to Thomasville, Alisha Dale said. Then a motorcade of Thomasville police officers will pick up the escort at the city limits and accompany Gobble to the Big Chair and bandstand.

Welcome home, Sergeant Gobble.

HOME: Some coverage of the homecoming here:

Thomasville - Sgt. Matthew Gobble survived hell in Afghanistan.

He came back home last night to streets lined with people waving American flags and holding signs bearing his name.

Just an hour before, Gobble had stepped off a plane at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Supporting himself with a crutch, he walked to the airport's public waiting area where his family and friends hugged him. His father, Mike Gobble was there with his stepmother, Marsha Gobble, and his mother, Sandra Gobble.

Later in Thomasville, Gobble walked to the gazebo in the middle of downtown without the crutch, smiling all the way.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this type of support," he told the crowd.

Being in the military, he said, is often a thankless job, and it meant a lot to see how much people cared about him and the other soldiers who are still over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I really appreciate it," he said. "I really do." [...]

Gobble is home for about a month and then heads out to join his unit in Vicenza, Italy. He hopes to sleep late, ride motorcycles and visit family and friends. As happy as he is to be home, he also mourns the deaths of the nine American soldiers, friends, he said, who had helped keep him alive.

As he stood in the gazebo and choked back tears, he asked the crowd to pause to remember them.

The cheers died down, for just a moment, before the hugs started back up, reminding Matthew Gobble that he was home.

Click the link for the whole thing, including a picture of Sgt Gobble hugging his grandfather. Yes, tears indeed.


"I am not going to lie," Gobble said, surrounded by friends and family. "I had butterflies in my stomach since I left Atlanta. I knew my family would all come, and I should have known they'd bring the whole town."

Follow this link for video.

No comments:

Post a Comment