First Class Passengers Give Up Seats to Marines Returning from Afghanistan, Airport Honors Arrival

Ellen's Good News
Marines return
Marines return


Thirteen Marines returning from Afghanistan were given the full hero treatment when they landed at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Monday night, and it all stemmed from a simple pizza request.

Stephanie Hare, whose fiancé, Capt. Pravin Rajan, was part of the team, called the USO crew at the airport to alert them that the Marines would be returning that evening after seven months overseas.

Hare requested the Marines receive some famous Chicago pizza and champagne upon arrival, or something of that nature. Instead, they were honored with cheers from a crowd of police, a fire truck water salute and first-class plane tickets!

FOX News reports that the Marines' plane taxied beneath an arch of water from fire department hoses, and a small crowd of cheering USO volunteers, firefighters, police officers and airport workers greeted the group in the terminal.

This was just the beginning.

As the Marines still had to travel to San Diego, they received six first-class upgrades from American Airlines, which has a policy to upgrade servicemen if there are available seats. The remaining marines were granted seats by seven first-class passengers, who "jumped out" of their spots as a gesture so the troops could sit together.

"It was incredibly touching," Rajan told FOX News. "Afghanistan is a very complex and ambiguous war... and a difficult thing to keep track of, so it is amazing when we are 10 years (into) a war and there is still that kind of community, that level of support, the level of willingness to go out of one's way."

Even more impressive, the whole thing was put together in an hour!