Marine enjoys welcoming party at home in New Lenox
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org December 29, 2012 7:38PM
Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Dathe, center, is welcomed home by his sister-in-law, Cindy Dathe, at his home along Teal Drive in New Lenox, IL on Saturday December 29, 2012. He graduated from Lincoln Way Central in 2009 and this was his first deployment. He has served two and a half years as a United States Marine. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 28, 2013 3:21AM
Now that their son is home, the Dathe family in New Lenox enjoyed a very merry Christmas and plan to have an even happier New Year.
Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Dathe, 21, arrived Dec. 23 at O’Hare International Airport. He left on an overseas deployment aboard a ship in March.
While he was seaside serving as an ammunition technician, he was stationed outside Spain, Moracco, Jordan, Kuwait, Djibouti and most recently, Syria.
His ship, the USS Iwo Jima, was given orders to sail home in mid-December.
It marked the end of the first deployment for Dathe, who dreamed of being a Marine since he was 8. He enlisted after graduating from Lincoln-Way Central High School in 2009.
Although he had been home for almost a week, Dathe received a royal welcoming party Saturday.
He was picked up at the New Lenox American Legion Post 1977 and given a police escort to his home, where Soldiers Guardian Angels and the Warrior Watch Riders volunteers stood outside his garage in the freezing cold, waving U.S. flags, cheering him on and playing patriotic tunes.
Dathe’s father, John Dathe, said it was great having his son home for the holidays.
“I think about him every day and every night,” John said. “When he’s gone, he’s in God’s hand, and I trust God.”
His mother, Claire Dathe, said that while she kept up on his travels through Facebook, she missed her son and was glad to have him home.
“It’s been a great holiday season,” she said. “We had a quiet family Christmas together. Now we’re ready for our friends.”
Dathe said he is driving back to his base — Camp Lejeune in North Carolina — on Jan. 12. In the meantime, he plans to spend his days hanging out with his family and friends, including his three older siblings, and eating home-cooked meals. The one food he was looking forward to eating most was pumpkin pie.
“My mom had one but she dropped it on the floor,” Dathe said, laughing. “I was devastated.”
His next overseas deployment is expected in June 2014, and he plans to re-enlist once his current four-year term is up.
“I feel like I’m used to the lifestyle,” he said. “It’s suitable for me.”