Dubuque Marine returns home to huge crowds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Marine returns home to huge crowds

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After just three weeks in Afghanistan, Dubuque Marine Lance Corporal Christopher Billmyer was hit by an IED. Both of his legs had to be amputated and since then he's been recovering at a Maryland Hospital. Tuesday afternoon he returned home to Dubuque.

Just before 1p.m. Tuesday afternoon, family members, friends and even strangers waited for Christopher Billmyer's plane to land.

"I don't want this you know. Sneak me out the backdoor," Billmyer said. "When I first got hurt and I was in the ICU I didn't even have enough hours in the day to open every single card because there so many. Cause there were so many supports out there. Blankets, clothes stuff, two pages of stuff like that and this is my thanks."

But it didn't stop there. He took off from the airport to his home in style, escorted by the thunder of hundreds of motorcycles.

"It's an honor. A privilege and an honor," Carney Kruger said.

The motorcade drove through town. First on HWY 151, then down Grandview Avenue, onto HWY 20 and through the Northwest Arterial. Thousands of people stood along the route, cheering for him.

"It's special. I mean he hasn't been home for a very long time and for everything that he has done for us we might as well give something back for him," former classmate Alex Schmitt said.

"I don't know him. I know people who know him and Dubuque is a small town and I wanted to be a part of this," Supporter Cindy Graham said.

And it all ended on this front lawn, where hundreds of people said thank you.

"It couldn't have went better. There was thousands of people there today [Tuesday]. And the support is just unbelievable," aunt Connie Bries said.

And it was unbelievable support, for a remarkable young man. Who will not be alone in this latest battle.

"I never knew it was gonna end up like this but it's turning out good and I think we're making the best of it," Brother Joseph Billmyer said.

Christopher's brother, Joseph, who was stationed at Fort Bragg, returned home Tuesday. He arrived at the airport minutes before Christopher's plane landed. The two say they'll be spending a lot of time with family while they are home.

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