‘Operation Welcome Gathering’ Stuns Soldiers At BWI-Marshall

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ)–A long and dangerous journey comes to an end— just in time for the holidays. Hundreds of soldiers and marines landed Thursday afternoon at BWI-Marshall.

 Mike Schuh was there for the warm welcome.

 Since 2007, 160,000 soldiers have returned to America through our airport. The goal is to give each one a personal welcome. Thursday, a huge crowd gave the soldiers a gift they can remember.

During this time for traveling, from the around the country they come.

But no one has flown further or is more happy to be here than these travelers:

“I started off in Afghanistan,” said one soldier.

“I’ve been to Kuwait,” said another.

BWI-Marshall has greeted more returning troops—44,000 this year alone– than anywhere else.

“To welcome them back to their own house so that they can have [a] break for Christmas,” said one little greeter.

Now, imagine what this must feel like. It looked overwhelming.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said one troop.

“This was a great surprise,” said another. “I was not expecting any of this.”

“It was pretty amazing,” said another.

The crowd of greeters brought one soldier to tears “because people are thankful for me,” she said.

You still have an opportunity to be a part of Operation Welcome Gathering. There is another plane coming in Thursday night at 10 p.m. All you have to do is show up at the international pier. Sometimes the time is off a little bit, so you may have to wait.

The interesting thing about the gathering is that so few of those soldiers’s final stop is in the Baltimore region. Most of them take other flights to go other places. So they really enjoy the warm welcome home before they get greeted by their families at their final destination.

To find out when the next Operation Welcome Gathering will take place, you can call the organization’s hotline at 410-630-1555.

More from Mike Schuh
  • Jeff

    This was a great experience for my son and I. We arrived at the airport around 3pm, helped set up the posters and stuff some goodie bags. Then the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen started coming out from customs. It all was over by about 5pm… so for just 2 hours of our time we were able to cheer on and give back to these awesome patriots who have given 6 months to a year of their lives to serving and defending our country. Than you Operation Welcome Hope for organizing this. It was a pleasure to support.

  • Matthew Don Pablo Curtian

    Welcome Home Battles. Glad your back safe.

  • S Monroe

    Thank all of you who took part! I live in PA and would really love to attend on Thursday…but honestly I would cry the entire time. Last time at the airport I hadn’t seen my son and family for about 3 years (he’s and she are Army) and when I saw the soldiers coming and going I got so overwhelmed I missed seeing my son coming off the plane because I was behind a pillar crying my eyes out! LOL Thank all the military personnel and their families for their tremendous sacrifices and all of you who welcomed them back!!! God Bless and Merry Christmas!!!!

  • kathy thorp

    Operation Welcome Home Maryland (owhmd.org) iinvites viewers to come and witness patriotism in action. Check out our web site for future dates and times, and be sure to call the hot liine (410-630-1555) prior to leaving for the airport for the most up to date event time. Come and take part in making snack bags, hanging posters and recognizing the families who have traveled hunderd of miles to be there for their loved one. Thank you Mike and WJZ13 for putting the word out to come and honor our troops! and for all others who have come and donated their time and generous donations.

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