- This article is about an in-game mission. For the in-universe event, see Operation Supercircus.
Journey Home is the seventeenth mission of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. It is one of the most famous missions of the game, as it reaches its climax with the death of a main character.
Perrault: We're holding a peace ceremony at a stadium in November City. Our Vice President will be giving a speech to rally the citizens. Now...uh...you've been asked to do a fly-by above the ceremony. Don't screw this up! You should consider this an honor, and do your part to boost citizen morale. This is the Vice President we're dealing with here, so consider this a guard detail as well, and be prepared for anything out there.
Briefing Officer: Your mission this time takes place above November International Stadium--a gigantic, 70,000 seat arena located in the centre of the city of November, on the southern coastline of Osea. Vice President Appelrouth is giving a speech there, and you will be conducting a fly-by above the stadium as part of the production. You can return to base at 1730 hours, the time the speech is scheduled to end. After the fly-by, remain in formation and conduct a combat air patrol in and around the stadium until that time. This is a ceremonial flight, but you will be fully armed in case of an emergency. Don't forget to patrol the airspace surrounding the stadium, too.
The mission starts off with the player flying in the trail position while Nagase is leading, Chopper takes the player's left, and Grimm on the right. In the first part of the ceremonial flight, the player must match the wingmen as they increase or decrease altitude while flying directly towards the stadium. There is no need to yaw or roll as the heading is static. Once the player passes over the stadium, the wingmen will turn around, and the player must match Nagase's flight path while Chopper and Grimm fly between in diagonals. The ceremonial flight will then end, and Appelrouth's speech will begin.
Mission Update 1
As if it wasn't hinted at by Perrault, the Briefing Officer, and the fully-armed planes, Yuktobanian aircraft suddenly appear on radar. Very few appear at first, but many more will arrive, soon turning it into a furball. The player needs to shoot down as many aircraft as possible and defend the stadium from attack while Thunderhead attempts to call for reinforcements from nearby bases and the stadium evacuates. A few minutes into the dogfight, the 8492nd Squadron will show up on the radio and halt all reinforcements. Soon after, a flight of F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighters show up inbound to the stadium. These fighters are labeled as TGT and must be destroyed before they can approach the stadium and being a bombing run.
Chopper gets hit by a missile in the middle of the stealth fighter attack. After the player shoots down all of the stealth fighters and the reinforcements are called back, Chopper loses the ability to eject, and smashes his plane into the center of the largely-evacuated stadium in order to not harm any civilians.
Mission Update 2
After Chopper's death, multiple enemy reinforcements show up and continue to spawn, but at a slower rate and with a lessened difficulty than earlier. The player should shoot down as many of the remaining planes as possible. Once a certain number of planes are destroyed or a certain time is reached, allied reinforcements finally arrive. The enemy retreats, and the mission is a success.
Achieving an S rank on this mission requires obtaining 23000 points before the mission ends. The dogfight after the first mission update is quite lengthy, so the player should have enough chances to shoot down enough aircraft.
Do note that shooting down the stealth fighters will trigger Chopper's last dialogue, and consequently the second mission update, where there will be less fighters and less time. Therefore, if the player can manage it, at least 18000 points should be obtained before the stealth fighters show up. This is not a requirement, but a rough estimate.
Vice President Appelrouth escaped the stadium in his personal vehicle. Despite the late arrival of reinforcements, civilian casualties were kept to a bare minimum. The Yuktobanian fighters' ingress route is currently under investigation. Captain Alvin H. Davenport, who lost his life in the battle, is no longer with the team. He has been granted a posthumous two-rank promotion.
- This is the first appearance of many of the song The Journey Home, where the audience sings it in complete defiance against the pro-war Vice President. Interestingly enough, Chopper, a die-hard rock-n-roll fan, is a huge fan of the song and is caught singing it along with the audience, to which Archer points out for the song "not being rock-n-roll".
- This is one of the only missions where a wingman no longer responds to the Wingman Commands.
- Before the mission briefing starts (when in campaign mode), the mission is labeled as taking place at 1700 hours. However, the combat map states 10:30 for the time. The reason for this is not known.
- During the second mission update, the enemy fighters remark that the Osean aircraft are flying better than before. In reality, there are less fighters (and in some cases, they are less difficult) and it becomes easier on the player to shoot them down.