Whether it’s a young marine heading off overseas to start his basic training or a staff sergeant in the army for years on reserve, being separated from their families is no easy feat. These men sacrifice more than most people do just to serve their country. And sometimes that means missing out on life’s magical moments, like weddings, the birth of their sons and daughters, and more.
These are all truly heartwarming moments caught on camera of surprise homecomings. The reactions are real and full of emotion. From one young marine surprising his father at work to a mother announcing her homecoming on her son’s school PA system to a father surprising his deaf daughter in the middle of their Skype session – these are some of the most touching moments a family can have. The fact that they are all military homecomings is the thread that ties them all together.
Go on, grab the tissues. We’ll start the journey now.
This Dad Couldn’t Believe His Eyes One Day at Work
Soldier Joshua Jeffries was away from home for 6 months and as soon as he landed he wanted to take care of the most important thing. So he decided to surprise his father, the most important man in his life.
After following him to work, the young soldier surprises his father as he’s getting out of his truck. His father had to take a moment to understand what was happening. But once he did, their meeting was nothing short of emotional.
A Warm and Long-Needed Embrace
Once the shock wore off, Joshua’s father hugged him and the two shed tears, arm in arm. Can you imagine how each one of them was feeling in the moment? The reunion was emotional, and Joshua decided to share it with the world. He posted the whole thing on Twitter for people to see.
His post read: “I’ve been in the Army and gone away from home for about 6 months now. Today I decided to go to my father’s job and surprise him at work. Anybody who knows me knows that I do everything for my father to put a smile on his face and this video was just proof.”
The next military homecoming will bring happy tears to your eyes!
Soldier Surprises His Wife in the Hospital
Army Staff Sergeant Skyler Cooper is another military man that decided to come home in one of the most surprising ways he could think of. Cooper was away from his wife for 7 months at this point. It had also been two weeks since his wife Cydney gave birth to their twin babies, and it had been 12 days that one of their newborn twins was in the NICU with pneumonia.
Cooper made it home safely from Kuwait and his first home mission was to go straight to the hospital and surprise his wife who had no idea that he was coming. The babies, Emma and Kyla, were placed in intensive care because they were born prematurely at 33 weeks.
He Was Supposed to Come Home in the Spring
Cydney was only expecting to see her husband again in the spring. She had absolutely no idea that her husband would end up being there for one of their most important moments of their lives. And so on a day early in February, she got an unexpected visit at Stormont Vail Hospital.
Cooper wanted to make sure that he got the special reunion on tape. He decided to capture the moment when he surprised her and later posted it on Facebook. His video, which is emotional to say the least, has since been watched more than 9 million times.
For anyone who saw the video, they could attest to the fact that Cydney’s reaction was truly heart-rending. Can you imagine how she felt?
Pure Relief and Excitement
Anyone who has children knows how eventful the birth can be. Now think about how much more difficult it is for a woman to give birth without her husband around to support her and see the birth of their children. As you can imagine, having twins by emergency C-section before the due date and doing it alone while your husband is away on a tour of duty is more than many wives can imagine going through.
After the emotional reunion, Cydney said that she felt “pure relief and excitement” when she saw her husband suddenly walk into the hospital room with flowers and balloons. The couple already have two young boys. So we can definitely see how her relief is absolutely understandable.
It Meant Everything to Her
Cydney explained how she was feeling in that moment. “It meant everything,” she said of her husband’s return. “I had been pretty sick the whole pregnancy and that was hard on the boys because I wasn’t myself and couldn’t play like I usually do all the time.” A mother of twins and pregnant with a third is tough to begin with!
She also spoke of how it was for her twin boys. “The boys didn’t understand why I was gone during the days to see our girls [at the hospital] and I felt terrible leaving our girls alone at night. When he walked through the door everything was OK again.”
What she says next really hits home with all mothers.
They’ll Never Have to Be Alone Again
“One of my first thoughts after registering what was going on was that none of my children have to be without a parent again,” she added. After his emotional reunion with his wife and getting to meet his twin daughters for the first time, Cooper went home to surprise his boys.
Cydney Cooper said that while her husband’s deployment was tough, it was even more difficult for her sons who missed their dad so much and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t at home.
“He worked hard to stay in their lives the entire time he was gone,” she said. “He read stories and sent books to them. I made walls of pictures and deployment clocks. They remembered him the minute he walked into the door because they never forgot.”
Cydney posted something on social media that made everyone’s hearts melt.
Her Post Online
Cydney then posted something on social media that made everyone’s hearts melt. What she posted had this written under it: “1 year of crazy, 1000s of miles, 1 solo pregnancy and delivery, 48392 Skype calls, some superheroes, a few plane rides, 12 NICU days, tons of help from family and friends, and many tears later. A soldier came home,” her post read.
Now that’s a lot of Skype calls! After all that, he was finally able to make it home safely. About the twins: “We haven’t had a major health scare and are just waiting on them to grow a little more. They are almost home!”
Next, see what a reunion between a sergeant and his parents was like and what they went through.
Doctor Burst Into Tears When His Son Surprised Him at Work
Sgt. Mason Miller is a military police soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve. For his first deployment, he was sent to Afghanistan for one year. But he heard that he would be able to come home a few weeks early. So he decided to keep it a secret and make a surprise home visit. His homecoming would end up becoming an epic surprise that his family will never forget.
To pull it off, he needed some help. So he contacted his parents’ neighbor and friend, former federal agent, and military veteran, Sean MacTira.
“I’ve lived next door to them for many years and we all hang out together almost every night,” Sean said. “Since I’m at their house almost every day, it was hard to keep it a secret when they were planning on surprising him when he got back. The tables were turned, however.”
The Day Came
On the day Sgt. Miller was coming home, Sean drove to the base and waited next to all the families of the returning soldiers. When the buses pulled in, he said: “You could feel the sense of relief and the happiness as that command was given and all the soldiers ran into the crowd, looking for their family.” The young soldier knew where his first stop had to be.
They Went Straight to His Father’s Clinic. Sean drove the Miller to his father’s office at the Mayo Clinic, and he captured the touching moment on video. Dr. Bernie Miller got the surprise of his life! Miller walks into the hospital corridor, and as he sees his father’s secretary, he puts a finger to his lips to let her know that it’s a surprise.
The secretary herself was in shock and whispered, “Oh my god, Mason!” She told him to knock on the office door, where his father was in a meeting. He knocked on the door, and knocked again, this time louder. And finally, the door opened. It took Dr. Miller more than a few moments to realize who was standing before him.
Everyone watching was waiting for him to embrace his son. Miller’s father instantly broke down grabbed his son for a big bear hug. The moment is really powerful and full of emotion. One of the men in their meeting said: “This meeting is over. There are more important things going on in this room,” one of the men said sincerely and then thanked Sgt. Mason for his service.
Next Stop: His Sister and Mother
Sgt. Miller wasn’t finished. He had more family members that he needed to surprise. The next step would be to see his sister. And she was beyond excited to see her brother return! The tear-filled journey continues as we see Miller head to the elementary school where his mother works. And that was the cherry on top.
Their family friend said it perfectly…
Sean, the family friend that helped Miller complete his homecoming mission, said: “when you see these heartfelt reactions, you can get a glimpse of what we fight for when we go off to war.” Welcome home, Sgt. Miller. This is clearly what soldiers are fighting for.
You should see who the next soldier decided to visit first…
Brother Surprises His Sister at School
The little girl you see in this picture is Chandler. And little Chandler had the most exciting lunch break she ever had and ever will have at Bowie Elementary School in Sulphur Springs, Texas. She got to see her brother for the first time in a very long time.
Tyler Armstrong, her big brother, had just returned from the army to surprise his sister at school. At that point, they haven’t seen each other for three months. And for a little kid, that’s a really long time! He showed up at her school and as soon as she saw him, she ran up to him and hugged him saying, “I missed you so much!”
The next homecoming is meaningful on many levels!
Marine Surprising His Sister on Her Wedding Day
Can we all agree (whether you’re a fan or not) that weddings tend to be an emotional event in people’s lives? Well this particular bride had a lot to be emotional about at her wedding. The Marine’s wife, Audrey Logan, recounts her husband’s homecoming and surprise visit at his sister’s wedding. Their emotional reunion was luckily caught on tape.
She wrote: “A little back story: Joseph (my husband) was supposed to be away on a ship op preparing for an upcoming deployment at the time of his sister, Katie’s, wedding. Because of this, we made a video of him talking about Katie and congratulating her for her to see on her big day so that he could be a part of it.”
She Saw Him Standing There
“It was not until about a week before the wedding that we found out that he was slated to go to a school and would have the opportunity to forego the ship op and attend the wedding!”
“So we showed her the video anyways and recorded her reaction. Then, when she *thought* she was going to have her first look with her soon to be husband, she was surprised to see Joseph standing there!”
Can you imagine the feelings involved in this moment? She expected to see her husband, which is already a special moment, and saw her brother instead! Finally home!
The next story involves a father who just needed to surprise both his children as well as his mother.
Father Surprises his Mother and Daughters After 400-day Deployment
Jimmy, a soldier, and father to three daughters came home by surprise after spending 400 days overseas on duty. The day Jimmy was deployed, was also the day his daughter left for her first day of college. When Laura, his wife, got the call that her husband was coming back home, she wanted to make it into a big event and surprise their girls. Once he landed, he had to keep quiet because he had a long day ahead.
His plan was to surprise his three daughters and his mother all in the same day. You can imagine the emotion that filled this one day. The family friends that filmed the video remarked on how much strength and love that this family has for one another. They said, “We are extremely grateful to have been a part of this exciting day, and even more grateful to have Jimmy fight for our country.”
The next homecoming is a surprise for all of 5 daughters!
Airman Comes Home to Reunite With All Five of His Daughters
Many military men are young with a whole life a head of them, and many of those men are fathers. While most of them are fathers to one, two, or even three kids, this one dad was a father to 5 children! So you can imagine what a surprise homecoming would be like when he goes to each and every child to surprise them.
A friend of this pilot’s wife went with her to the airport to pick up her husband from a deployment. She was going to have the job of capturing each of the five separate moments on video. The returned pilot went to each of their schools to surprise them and you can only imagine how they felt!
Son Pops Out of Mom’s Trunk to Surprise Her After Years Apart
In 2017, a mother from Florida got the shock of her life when her son, in the military overseas for over two years, hid in her trunk in order to surprise her. When she opened her trunk, she literally jumped and screamed and hugged him as if she never wanted to let him go again. But was he expecting her to react so strongly?
26-year-old U.S. naval soldier Lee Jackson knew he had to make his homecoming a surprise for his mother, Diana Jackson, after a long deployment. Lee spoke of the reunion: “I was expecting a few tears but I wasn’t expecting her to jump up and jump in my arms like that. It was pretty funny, a little icing on the cake. It made everything worth it at that moment.”
He Didn’t Expect That Reaction
Jackson spent 17 months at his California base and another seven months of deployment in Guam. That amount of time is hard for anyone to be away from family. And for Jackson, it was extra tough. “I thought, ‘It’s definitely time for me to come home.’ I knew I needed to be there,” he said. And he knew that he had to see his mom first.
“Me and my mom have a saying that when one needs the other, we are usually there and I knew my mom needed to see me.” And the way he chose to surprise her was something she could never forget!
The next homecoming is of a mother to her son! And it’s sweet as can be!
Military Mom Announces Her Return on School PA System
This little cutie in the photo is Blake. And it was 4-year-old Blake’s first day of school that was extra special for him. It was the day his mother chose to announce her homecoming on the school’s PA system. Shania Porter, 36, was a U.S. Air Force master sergeant who had been away for more than six months. And for a mother that’s an eternity!
She had made the special announcement over the PA system at the Primrose School of Palm Valley. She said: “Attention Pre-K 1, I have a special announcement for a little boy that I flew so many miles to see and to tell him how much I love him,” her voice heard blaring from the speakers.
Then She Went to Find Him
After making her announcement on the PA system at the school, she needed to then find her son! So she walked down the hall to Blake’s classroom where she found him, but his back was to her. So she went up to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and gave him a hug that both of them have been waiting forever to have.
Do you have goosebumps? So do I. His mom explained the feelings she was having in that moment. “When I initially saw [his] face, instantly my face kind of swelled up and I got super emotional,” she later said. “It was like a flashback of memories, putting [him] to bed and taking [him] to school.” How sweet!
Then She Went to Her Other Son’s School
That same afternoon, Shania had to go surprise her other son, who was at another school. So she went ahead and made her special appearance at her other son’s school. Her other son, Bryce, is 5 years old and was also about to get the surprise of a lifetime.
This time, when he spotted his mom, he did what any kid would do. He quickly ran into her arms. “Initially, it was pretty scary because I didn’t know how receptive they were going to be,” she later said. “They’ve been so used to their dad and grandmother at this time so I was a little nervous if they were going to be as excited as I wanted them to be.”
Soldier Comes Home to Husky
Who said that reunions and military homecomings only have to be with humans? I think we can all agree that pets are also part of the family, and dogs are the greatest example of that. Here we have Jax, who could not stop showering his owner with sloppy kisses when he came home from active duty. Sam Cox returned from duty in Great Britain’s Royal Anglian Regiment, where he spent nine years training members of the Nigerian army.
Their reunion really proves how much love a dog can have for his best friend. They had been separated for seven long months and Jax was over the moon excited to see him.
The next homecoming was at a college basketball game!
Military Dad Surprises Twin Cheerleader Daughters
These cheerleading twins were in shock when their military dad came home unexpectedly. Their father showed up to watch them cheer during a college basketball game. Maria and Micaela Kemerling, cheerleaders at the University of Missouri, hadn’t seen their father, Capt. Kody Kemerling, for 10 months since he was deployed to Kuwait with the Army Reserve.
The twin girls said that their father’s deployment was difficult in part because as a result, he never got to see them cheer at a collegiate level – something they were clearly proud of! Now reunited, their dad plans on going to many of the girls’ games and cheering them on from the bleachers!
Next, a father surprised his deaf daughter in a clever way!
Military Father Surprises His Deaf Daughter in a Clever Way
13-year-old Amber couldn’t believe her eyes when her Army dad surprised her by walking through the door during their one of their weekly Skype sessions. Tech Sgt. David Opperman was overseas for many months, the longest he had been gone in his 20 years in the service. Amber’s school made a special arrangement to let her miss part of class every Wednesday to Skype with her father.
Amber is deaf, actually planned on surprising her father during their Skype session by inviting her mom to join them. But little did the 13-year-old know, her father had an even bigger surprise for her. Her mom, Yvet Opperman, said they had been planning the moment for almost three weeks. The whole family, including his 16- and 19-year-old daughters were in on the secret.
“You Owe Me a Hug”
“You owe me a big hug when you get back,” David signed to Amber through their Skype conversation. And then their conversation was over and they hung up. But, Amber obviously didn’t expect her father to be anywhere in the vicinity. All of a sudden, she is shocked to see her dad walk in the door!
“I didn’t expect her to cry. She was hyperventilating and she has asthma,” Yvet said. “She was in tears and she was happy — excited and emotional at the same time.” If anyone reading this isn’t at all teary-eyed, then I don’t know if they are even human! What an amazing story about an amazing family, right? I’m so glad they got it all on camera!
Soldier Put a Lot of Thought into Surprising His Siblings
This next story is about a soldier who loves his brother and sister so much that he knew he had to surprise them with his homecoming. His name is Dave Voss, and he’s a soldier from the U.S. Army who returned to his hometown to surprise his brother and sister. He showed up at his brother, Dylan Voss’s soccer game and also surprised his sister, Victoria Voss, in her 8th-grade art class.
Voss had been planning the surprise for two months! He had only been home twice since he started his basic training. He even surprised his mother on his last home visit and loved the experience, so he knew he wanted to do it again, this time with his brother and sister.
Military Parents Surprised Their Daughter in a Magic Show!
Having to grow up away from your parents can be extremely hard on kids. Addison’s parents are both in the Army Reserves. But her parents knew exactly how to surprise her when they came home. Julia and Brian Woodburn were serving in the army for quite some time. When they came home, they came up with a great idea. They decided to literally appear before Addison through a magic show at her school.
In the middle of the school’s basketball court, a stage was set up for a little magic show. And Addison was placed in front of it, clearly unaware of the big secret.
Then as the big reveal came, her mother popped up out of nowhere and Addison came running up to her mom! A sweet reunion for sure.
Soldier Comes Home to Wife and Newborn Daughter
Sometimes military men have to miss out on huge occasions, such as the birth of their children. And that’s a killer for most of these guys. This is Army National Guard soldier John Vorrath who wasn’t there to witness the birth of his first daughter as he was away on deployment in Afghanistan.
He was heartbroken but he at least got to watch the birth on an iPad, even though nothing could compare to the actual moment in the delivery room. The next day, he got to surprise his wife, Janae, and finally meet their new baby. John traveled for twenty-two hours straight before he reached Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa, to finally meet his new baby girl Charlotte.
A 10-year-old baseball player was more than ecstatic to find out that the umpirein his game was actually his dad! His dad was a Marine who had secretly returned from a six-month deployment overseas. Brock tried to draw his son’s attention by purposely making bad calls while little A.J. pitched in the top of the first inning.
Then, when A.J. stepped into the batter’s box, Brock paused to remove his mask. He was greeted with a big hug from his son of course! Brock’s 9-year-old daughter also rushed onto the field to join the happy family reunion. The children thought their dad would be returning from Japan the next month. Their mom, Janet, arranged for the homecoming. Sgt. Brock has been deployed six times, including three combat tours.
How to Talk to Your Children Upon Your Arrival
Since so many marines and other military personnel come home after a long period of time to their children, it may come as useful for them to learn of a few pointers as to how to talk to their children when coming home.
One tip is to recognize that it’s going to feel weird and uncomfortable for at least a little while after you return home. And remember: this is very normal! You’ll feel as though you’re on the outside looking in at this family of yours. Your family had to figure out how to manage life without you and live a new normal. So, take it easy and enjoy the view for a bit. With time, things will go back to normal.
Be Open and Talk to Them!
You can also try to invite your kids to talk with you about all kinds of things. You can talk to them about how things went for them during the deployment. Remember to be open to their feelings and perceptions. Another good idea is to take off your military hat and your parent hat – try to just listen to them as a caring adult.
Especially when it comes to older kids and teens, try to have a conversation about the responsibilities and privileges they had while you were not in the house. Many kids will be actually reluctant to give up these more “adult” roles as it made them proud. Thank them for their effort as well as their sacrifice. Help them find a balance between maintaining those responsibilities and just “being a kid”.
As you start to make changes at home, look for your children’s feedback. Sure, you’re the parent and in charge at the end of the day, but home communication is very, very different than military communication! Giving orders and expecting immediate obedience is necessary in the field, but that doesn’t work when you’re at home with your family.
One of the best ways to help your kids get used to you again is to integrate yourself into their new daily life. Got babies? Change their diapers. Or fix them a meal; take them to soccer practice. Read a bedtime story. Go ahead and pick them up from school. Look at their daily routines and find some places you can ease in and begin the process of reconnecting.