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13 Marines returning from Afghanistan get unexpected welcome at Chicago's O'Hare airport

  • b7afd2af6c274e25420f6a70670017b3.jpg

    This Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 photo provided by American Airlines shows a group of Marines walking through a terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport during part of their journey back home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The Marines were treated like heroes at the airport after a retired Marine and some others were not going to let them make the final leg of their journey to San Diego without thanking them for their service. After the plane they were on taxied underneath an arch of water from fire department hoses in what is called a "water salute,' the 13 Marines walked into the terminal to the sight of a small crowd of cheering USO volunteers, firefighters, police officers and others who work at the airport. (AP Photo/Courtesy of American Airlines, Vic Ysais)The Associated Press

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    This Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 photo provided by Pravin Rajan shows Marine Capt. Pravin Rajan after his arrival at San Diego International Airport in San Diego following in a tour of duty Afghanistan. Rajan was part of a group of 13 Marines that got a heroes welcome at Chicago's International Airport four days into a journey back home by of a small crowd of cheering USO volunteers, firefighters, police officers and others who work at the airport. Rajan says the reception he and his comrades received on their way to San Diego was "incredibly touching." (AP Photo/Courtesy of Pravin .Rajan, Sandhya Rajan)The Associated Press

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    This Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 photo provided by the USO of Illinois shows Lindsy Wadas, director of the USO Center at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport with U.S. Marine Maj. Matthew Winkelbauer, left, after he and 13 other Marines arrived in Chicago before the final leg of their trip home to San Diego after a tour in Afghanistan. The Marines got something special during their stop at O'Hare. They were treated like heroes by of a small crowd of cheering USO volunteers, firefighters, police officers and others who work at the airport. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the USO of Illinois)The Associated Press

Thirteen Marines heading home from Afghanistan got something they didn't expect more than four days into their journey including a cheering crowd of police officers, a fire truck water salute and first-class tickets.

Capt. Pravin (pruh'VEEN) Rajan says the reception they received Monday as they passed through Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on their way to San Diego was "incredibly touching."

American Airlines gave six of them first-class seats to San Diego. But that gesture was followed by seven first-class passengers who jumped out of their seats for the other Marines.

The USO and others say the reception is the kind of thing they like to do whenever military personnel fly through the airport, but this event was organized at the last minute.

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