All Sections
action:article | category:NEWHAMPSHIRE09 | adString:NEWHAMPSHIRE09 | zoneID:2
Welcome guest, you have 2 views left. | Register | Sign In

Pease Greeter and retired Marine Norman LeMote welcomes troops returning from Afghanistan at Pease International Airport in Portsmouth Tuesday. (Timothy Buckland/Union Leader)

Troops welcomed home at Pease facility

PORTSMOUTH -- Retired Marine and Pease Greeter Norman LeMote was overwhelmed with emotion Christmas morning as troops made their way through the Pease International Airport terminal.

"I've got tears in my eyes," he said. "This is so wonderful."

The troops were from varying detachments serving in Afghanistan.

"This is fantastic," Maj. Rachel Thorne said after walking past hundreds of cheering greeters. "It's a good feeling. It's good to see the real people we've been serving and protecting."

Thorne, who was born in the United States but grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, said she is between assigning units.

"I'm technically homeless right now," she said. "I guess I live deployed."

The organization, formed in 2005, greets more than 50 departing and returning flights each year, typically with hundreds volunteering to serve as greeters.

After walking through a cheering crowd, the troops were treated to lunch and as many hugs and thanks as they wanted.

"It just feels so good," said Sgt. Matthew Wilson, a native of Mississippi who had spent the last six months in Zabul Province in Afghanistan. He has to go back in two weeks, he said.

First-time greeter Kaitlin Maloy of Strafford burst into tears as she hugged Thorne and asked to have their picture taken together.

"It's just a beautiful experience," Maloy said. "It's amazing to think that these people are so happy to see us."

Chris Perreault said she was thrilled to spend her Christmas morning at an airport terminal to have the experience of greeting the troops.

"I just heard about this last night," she said. "This is the best Christmas I've ever had."

- - - - - - - -

Tim Buckland may be reached at


To improve the chance of seeing your comment posted here or published in the New Hampshire Union Leader:

  • Identify yourself. Accounts using fake or incomplete names are suspended regardless of the quality of posts.
  • Say something new, stay on topic, keep it short.
  • Links to outside URLs are discouraged, if used they should be on topic.
  • Avoid comments in bad taste, write well, avoid using all capital letters
  • Don't cite facts about individuals or businesses without providing a means to verify the claim
  • If you see an objectionable comment please click the "Report Abuse" button and be sure to tell us why.

Note: Comments are the opinion of the respective poster and not of the publisher.

Be the first to comment.

Post a comment

You must sign in before you can post comments. If you are experiencing issues with your account please e-mail

action:article | category:NEWHAMPSHIRE09 | adString:NEWHAMPSHIRE09 | zoneID:59

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required