Marines return home with hero's welcome

November 25, 2010 12:49:40 AM PST
This will be a very happy Thanksgiving for two Bay Area Marines just back from Afghanistan. They got a hero's welcome home Wednesday, and deservedly so after finishing a very difficult tour of duty.

Marine Cpl. Thomas Brook and his friend, Lance Cpl. Jake Henry, have a lot to be thankful for since they just completed a tour of duty in Southern Helmand Province. It's one of the deadliest war zones in Afghanistan.

More than 50 military veterans, who make up the Patriot Guards, escorted the two Marines from the airport to Cpl. Brook's home in Walnut Creek. Brook offered his hospitality to his friend who needed a holiday home.

Brook, a 21-year-old Las Lomas High graduate, saw several fellow Marines die while battling Taliban fighters.

"From the time we started the deployment to the time we finished it, there's a huge improvement between us and the local populace. There was complete cooperation towards the end of our deployment with them," says Brook.

Henry took an AK-47 round to the leg during a three hour firefight.

"And we were hit by an IED. Four marines were hit, we lost one on the ground, myself was injured," says Henry.

Surgeons reattached two of his fingers severed by shrapnel.

"Got a little banged up, but trying to get back on the move," says Henry.

"I've been thrown back into America. It's a little different adapting to everything, but I'll have my friends and family around me and that's going to help a lot," says Brook.

"I can't imagine anything more special, it's just unreal," says Brook's mother, Kathy August.

After seven months of hard fighting, sleepless nights, and a diet of field rations, Brook and his friend Henry will sit down to a home cooked Thanksgiving meal knowing that their tour of duty is finally over.


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