August 12th, 2010
04:37 PM ET
4 years ago

George and Laura Bush surprise returning troops

Former President George W. Bush surprised soldiers returning home mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday.
Former President George W. Bush surprised soldiers returning home mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday.

(CNN) - Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush surprised 145 troops returning home from war Wednesday, greeting them at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The service members, most returning for a two-week break, arrived on a charter flight expecting to be met by the Dallas-based Welcome Home A Hero organization.

But waiting with the crowd at the international arrivals section were the smiling former president and first lady. "We didn't tell them at all what was going on," said the leader of the welcoming group, Lt. Col. Patrick McAfee. "It was shock and awe when they walked in the double doors."

Most of the returning service members are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A spokesman for Bush, David Sherzer, said they were "honored" to take part in the welcome. "President Bush often says that he doesn't miss much about being the President, but he does miss being the Commander in Chief of an incredible group of men and women", he said.

"It was a remarkable, incredible feeling for them, seeing the former commander in chief taking time to greet them," McAfee said.

Bush handed each of the service members his commander-in-chief coin and posed for pictures for everyone. Photos from the event showed the surprise on the faces of many of the troops.

"For the first time in my life, I was star struck," McAfee said. "He obviously still loves the military."

The Bushes joined with more than 30 youth football players through the Slant 45 organization to take part in the ceremony. The group is part of the Super Bowl community program in advance of the 2011 Super Bowl at Arlington, Texas.

"It was just a great lift of our spirits" for the welcoming committee, McAfee said. The group welcomes troops home whenever their flights return, no matter the hour. "We sometimes have people in pajamas and robes in the middle of the night."

(Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET)


Filed under: Afghanistan • George W. Bush • Iraq • issues
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. NYT:"during this election cycle big oil has paid 12.8 million in contributions, 71% to Republicans"!

    Good for him.

    August 12, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. MikeH

    Scumbag Bush needs to go to our military cemeteries and apologize to all the brave dead American soldiers who died in his illegal Iraq war and his incompetent Afganistan war.

    Then he needs to be indicted and tried for war crimes.

    August 12, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Karen

    Thank you President and Mrs. Bush for greeting the returning military. You are always thinking of others and this was truly a class act. Thank you so very much!

    August 12, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. JR

    It's a shame that none spit in his eye.

    August 12, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. davo/kissimmee

    Sick and discusting that he wants to wash his hands of the blood.

    August 12, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Steve

    Well, he's got a book to sell, you know. Doing a little pre-sale publicity and photo ops. Freak. Go away already.

    August 12, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. Rich

    NOW???

    Now that he is no longer president, suddenly he cares about the troops???

    Really? NOW?

    August 12, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. American Soldier

    I miss George.

    August 12, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    FINALLY – he did something.

    August 12, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Brian

    Like his policies or not, this is classy. He has no campaigning to do for a new office, no business or cause he's lobbying for, and no financial incentive, just a deep respect for the men and women serving.

    August 12, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. gino

    Show-boat! What about all the dead ones you didn't welcome home. Go away, faker.

    August 12, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. howie

    What more would you expect from a former great president!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. Roger Hubley

    George Bush -

    A real class act – a good man and a good president and a GREAT CIC. He took the tough decisions and stuck by them and changed when necessary. He made mistakes but after all he had to to deal with the Defeatocrats and the Liberal ass-kissers in MSM including CNN. This what a real leader looks like compared to that incompetent fool Obama.

    August 12, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. TheLeft

    Oh how good of the war criminal Bush to greet the troops as they arrive home.

    "For the first time in my life, I was star struck," McAfee said. "He obviously still loves the military." Yeah, he loves them enough to launch a war of aggression against a country that not only did NOT have WMD's but did not pose a threat to the United States at all.

    No amount of Arabs placing slips of paper in ballot boxes is going to bring back all those killed in this unnecessary war. Not to mention heal the hundreds of thousands who will be born, or are already born with birth defects stemming from spent Depleted Uranium rounds all over Iraq.

    August 12, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  15. Peter s

    Thanks Mr. George W Bush!!

    August 12, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Dubya Is a man of Honor. Something we need more of.

    August 12, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  17. BrianCNN

    Class act!

    August 12, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. joyce

    Do you think he might have a gillty conscience

    August 12, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  19. ThirstyJon

    Another reason to admire George W. Bush. He is a good man.

    August 12, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. HK Polston

    He should greet the caskets instead from the unnecessary war he started.

    August 12, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Troy

    And we don't miss him being president either. I wonder if he ever greets the airplanes bringing home the soldiers that die in his war?

    August 12, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. steve b

    you the man Mr. Pres Bush
    honor to the troops

    August 12, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. cocitizen

    The nerve of that guy. Why is god's name did the White House and/or Pentagon allow Bush to get within 100 feet of an American serviceman?

    August 12, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. bennie new york

    "Hello sir. Great to be home. BTW thanks for putting me in harm's way for no reason at all."

    August 12, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Proud member of Global Zero

    He would not have to have taken time off from picking up his dogs poop if he never started these wars in the first place. As an ex Dallasite, please stay home.

    August 12, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
1 2 3 4 5