It was a homecoming like you might expect. Friends and family gathered with signs and hugs for a marine returning from Iraq.
But Lance Cpl. Gordon Bloom's homecoming came early.
"He took eight bullets in the chest, abodomen and leg," Bloom's mother Teresa said.
"It all happened so quick," Gordon Bloom reaclled.
Lance Cpl. Bloom and three other marines from Lansing-based 1st Batallion, 24th Regiment Charlie Company were hit on New Year's Day in Iraq after an explosion apparently triggered machine gun fire.
"It ripped through their barracks," Teresa Bloom told us.
Teresa Bloom first heard about what happened to her son the night of Monday, January 1st.
"We didn't know until Tuesday if he was dead or alive," she said.
Her only solace, she says: Either way, her son would be coming home. After a night spent sleeping by the phone came good news: Lance Cpl. Bloom survived.
"God just protected him because he didn't have any armor," Teresa Bloom said.
He was flown to Germany where doctors operated on him three times to fix a collapsed lung and liver damage. From there it was on to Bethesda Naval Hospital outside Washington, D.C. where Teresa got her first chance to see her son.
"He looked good," she said. "You can't tell that he's got staples from his sternum all the way down."
"It's been a speedy recovery," Gordon Bloom said. "Even the doctors were stumped."
Stumped by a man hit with eight bullets, with shrapnel in his spine, shrapnel in his leg, able to walk just about 10 days later.
Lance Cpl. Bloom is still in a great deal of pain. Despite his own struggles, he is still thinking about his fellow marines.
"I know they're still out there doing their job in harm's way," he said.
Mindful of their service, but thankful to be alive.
"It's a great feeling to be back," Lance Cpl. Bloom said. "I'm just glad I'm home."