Holding carefully made '"Welcome Home" signs, Lance Corporal Kyle Cooper's family and friends watched and waited for him to arrive Tuesday at Memphis International Airport.
The road home from Iraq was long for Cooper, after being injured by a roadside bomb attack on July 25.
"He's been on flights for ten days trying to get back here to Memphis," said his mother, Jo Cooper. "He finally made it."
A hero's homecoming awaited Cooper, who was deployed to Iraq in January and was warned about roadside bombs. Cooper said there was never any sign of a bomb, until it was too late. "I never saw it coming, never felt it," he said. "I never even heard it. It just knocked me out."
Cooper suffered shrapnel injuries to his legs, and made a call his mother had been dreading.
"It was shocking, especially by a roadside bomb," Jo Cooper said. "It was awful. He did call me, which was the saving factor with that. He was the one to call me and let me know."
Cooper has undergone surgery and will need more check ups. He said complete strangers have shown gratitude for his service.
"People come up to you and just say, 'Thanks and God bless you,'" he said. "That's who we do it for."