Cheryl Obernuefemann had less than 24 hours to pull off a surprise block party Saturday. 

She and husband Steve received a call Friday that their son, Marine Chief Warrant Officer Justin Obernuefemann would be coming home the next day.

There were 40 U.S. and Marine flags lining the streets, said Steve.
“That was hilarious. I thought, ‘Oh no, they planned something,’” said Justin. When he looked at his dad, Steve was unable to keep a straight face. 

“You got me again, ” the young Marine said. “That’s all mom’s doing.  It was great.”

Around 50 people showed up to congratulate him on completing his tour in Iraq, safely. “No member of my unit received substantial injuries,” he said. “It was a wonderful deployment. A lot of stuff is winding down. [Iraqi] people are doing most of our stuff.”

“O.B.,” as he has been called since tactical training 13 years ago, is on leave for two weeks, then will return to his base, Miramar, near San Diego. He was stationed there two years ago, but has only spent two months at the base. “It’s funny, I’ve been stationed there two years, but just never seen it.”

The block party was not the only surprise to Obernuefemann.

Saturday was the first time he had been home since Hurricane Ike.

“The landscaping, to me it looks bad – especially down Arthur and Elsie – all the piles of debris. All the buildings damaged and businesses closed. I can’t imagine what it looked like before. It’s weird to see all the trailers, everywhere,” he said. “But everybody is getting it back together, including my parents.”

His goal for the next two weeks? “Remember how to sleep late,” he said with laughter in his voice. “My days and nights are backward. It still takes a while to get adjusted.”

The 32-year-old knew he wanted to be a Marine, to follow in his father’s footsteps, at an early age. 

After graduating from Bridge City High School in 1995, he joined the Marine Corps in early 1996. “I thought I would join the reserves and go to college after boot camp. It was so much fun, I decided I would stay. I love it!” he said. “Eventually they will tell me I have to go and get a real job.”

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.