MidMichigan marine returns home

Cpl. J.C. Rottiers is welcomed home by members of the Michigan Patriot Guard / Dan Armstrong

A MidMichigan marine returns home to dozens of people cheering his return.

For the marine, this return hits home because he lost one of his friends in Afghanistan.

For his family, they're just glad to see him.

J.C. Rottiers walked into Bishop International Airport to the sound of "Hip, hip, hooray!"

The long line of supporters included the Patriot Guard of Michigan. They eagerly gave the marine a handshake and a hug.

"It was very relieving, very happy to be home," says J.C. Rottiers.

The Michigan Patriot Guard welcomes home hundreds of military members throughout the state all year long.

They want to reverse the trend started with their generation.

Patriot Guard member Mike Bowen of Flushing wears a patch saying the nearly 60,000 military members who did not come home from Vietnam will never be forgotten.

"That patch means a lot to me. I lost a lot of my brothers in the Vietnam War. Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another. Never again."

J.C. wears a black bracelet for one of his friends that paid the ultimate price.

His mom says she never watches the news fearing what could have happened to her own.

Now, she'll cherish him even more.

"His dad and I are going to take him home, spend some time with him with nobody around just to get to know him again. He's been gone for so long. I want to get to know my son again," says Cindy Kischnick, the marine's mother.

J.C. spent four years overseas serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

He says his return is humbling. "I'm very thankful for everybody who came out here and took the time."

Rottiers will eventually head back to North Carolina with the military. He'll complete his service in November.