Soldier surprised with grand homecoming after final deployment

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A soldier flew into Wilmington on Friday and got a hero’s welcome at Carolina Beach.

Chief Warrant Officer II Michael Applebee spent the past 30 years in the Army National Guard.

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He returned home after a 10-month deployment overseas and received an extra special welcome home as he now celebrates retirement. The overwhelming support from the community left him nearly speechless.

“I was literally just crying,”Applebee says. “This is what every soldier deserves that comes home whether it be Kuwait or Afghanistan, combat zone or not. It’s you know seeing friends and family. Neighborhoods coming together just to help each other out, this was amazing.”  

Applebee and his wife were given an escort to their home in Carolina Beach, where they were met by neighbors and the American Legion. 

Chief Warrant Officer II Michael Applebee returned to Carolina Beach after his final deployment overseas. (Photo: WWAY)

CWO II Applebee will retire from the Army National Guard in the coming months and he plans to spend his time doing something that he holds close to his heart.

“We are going to get up in the morning, walk out on the beach to watch the sunrise,”says Applebee. “You know just days like that, I’m so looking forward to it and spending my time with my beautiful wife.”