Strangers applauded Jerod Murphy and wanted to shake his hand at the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional airport Monday morning.
The Gulfport Marine, wounded in Iraq, enjoyed a happy homecoming.
Murphy's wife, Kim, wanted to get her husband home as soon as possible.
He was awaiting a "space available" military flight home from Maryland, which could have taken another week. But when Kim learned she could get him home on a commercial airline, she went on line and bought the ticket Sunday night, then headed to the airport Monday morning with their four young children.
"That flight has called in range to the Gulfport airport. It should be on the ground in approximately five minutes," said the airport announcer on a loud speaker.
While the announcement blared, Kim Murphy anxiously waited the final few moments for her husband's weather delayed flight.
Five year old Alexus clutched her "Welcome Home" sign. Christian preferred chewing on his.
"Look, there's the plane," Murphy shouted to her kids.
The Delta connection finally arrived with hero, husband and daddy.
"You him walking down the stairs yet?", Mom asked the children.
Finally, a smiling Jerod Murphy makes his way to his waiting family, his arm in a sling.
It's been a whirlwind eleven days for this Marine. From the battlefield in Iraq, to Kuwait, then Spain, then Germany then Maryland. Now, finally home.
"Getting home and seeing my kids. It was close that I didn't come back, so I was just happy I had the opportunity to come back and see them," said Jerod Murphy.
His wounded elbow will heal. The smiles from his children make it feel better already. He didn't realize at first he'd been shot.
"It just felt like a sledge hammer hit me in the elbow. I fell back. And the corpsman was on the scene immediately. And within thirty seconds they had the blood stopped and I was in the back of an ambulance being transported out of the firing," he said.
Kim Murphy couldn't hold back the tears of joy. She was touched by her husband's return and the community's support.
"There's mixed support feelings you watch on television, but you never realize until today how much people really appreciate them going over there. I feel lucky and blessed that he came back. I'm just really happy," she said.
Her wounded husband will enjoy his time at home. The Marine in him will be thinking of his combat buddies.
"Go home and rest and recuperate. You know, worry. Worry about my guys," said Jerod.