USATODAY Militarykind


This Navy lieutenant taught people how to fly Stearmans during WWII. Decades later, he's getting a flight back in time.

This toddler had only seen his Airman mom on video chat for the last 6 months. This is the moment he finally saw her in person.

We’re a rollercoaster of emotions watching our favorite homecomings of our men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces.

To our men and women who protect our country, thank you. We can't wait to have you home.

An entire baseball stadium was rooting for this kid to select the winning case. But the real grand prize didn't fit in one.

This baby has the cutest reaction to seeing his daddy doll in his Army uniform.

This first pitch isn't about baseball. It's about a military hero regaining his sense of independence.

This soldier made a plea to God to get him home to his wife and baby.

We’re a ball of nerves watching this 95-year-old Air Force veteran inch his way to the edge of the diving board.

This Airman is a ball of nerves because he's about to see his family for the first time in five whole years.

He knew if he ever got the call to save someone's life, it was meant to be.

Rodney asked God to tell him his purpose. He found it when he saw an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn.

They were terrified when their toddler began choking. Their Marine neighbor knew exactly what to do.

He was fighting for his life so he could fight for the country.

From the sound of things, this German Shepherd is really excited that her soldier human is home.

When his Marine unit changed locations, he couldn't get the 3-legged, stray pup out of his head.

What happened after the cheer routine got the biggest applause.

Getting his diploma was only the beginning of what he'd celebrate that day.

Chris Harris was killed in a suicide bombing just a week after he learned his wife, Britt Harris, was pregnant. Chris will never hold his daughter. But these photos show she is surrounded by the love of those who served with him.

Soldiers place flags at Arlington National Cemetery ahead of Memorial Day.

Mom spent 9 months hoping her son would make it home from Afghanistan live and well. When Pvt. Kenny Joel Garcia finally came home, she reacted like any mom would. She burst into tears and she hugged him so hard! She started thanking God for bringing her son home and she said it a lot of times! She is so grateful! However, we know those are happy tears and once again the family is together!

This soldier was in on it. His girlfriend was in on it. A lot of planning and a ton of love went into this <a href="" target="_blank">homecoming surprise</a> for mom. Nine months is a long time to go without seeing your child. Which is why this mother didn't let her son go after he returned from nine months of deployment.

This brave <a href="" target="_blank">soldier</a> names Kenny Joel Garcia is only 24-years-old he lives in Queens and he waited and planned this surprise with his girlfriend Hannah Long. They wanted to make the reunion as special as possible.

n the video, Pvt. Garcia can be seen walking through a hallway holding flowers for his mom. He waited for her as she came around the corner, knowing that she had no idea he would be on the other side of the door. She takes one look at her son gives out a joyous yell, hugs him and doesn't let go. "Ahhhhhhhhh, mi niño! Mi niño! Gracias mi Señor! (My son, my son. Thank you, Lord!)”. What an incredible reunion!

This bride’s vows to her stepson are beautiful, but his reaction truly stole her show.

“I want you to be safe, and to try your hardest, and to be a good person,” says Leehan as 4-year-old Gage stands in front of his dad at Quincy Cellars in Ripley, New York.

While Gage’s father, Sergeant Joshua Newville was standing at the altar with his wife-to-be Senior Airman Emily Leehan, and listening the moving list of <a href="" target="_blank">vows</a> the soon to be step-mom was reading out to his boy, there happened a sweet emotional meltdown that forever took the limelight off the marrying couple. The emotional moment was captured on camera.

As the bride continues reading her vows, little Gage bursts into tears and wraps his arms around his new mom's waist. He is making Leehan’s work really difficult not because of the <a href="" target="_blank">sobs</a> and interruptions but because of the emotions he awakens inside of her and we can clearly notice them in her voice.

“Buddy, it’s okay,” says Gage’s father, inviting the boy in for a hug. But the cute innocent sobs do not seize, even after Gage sinks his face into his dad’s Marine uniform.

“You have helped make me into the woman that I am today, and I may not have given you the gift of life, but life surely gave me the gift of you,” says Leehan and bends down to hug and kiss Gage.

This military couple had no idea how deeply the bride’s vows to her new stepson would affect him.

We can’t even imagine how hard it must be for families when one of their loved ones goes away to serve their country. Countless men and women make it their life’s path to protect and serve the country they love, but that means that they have to leave their loved ones behind. Everybody experiences this hardship in their own way, but the kids in the family take it the worst. That is why these <a href="" target="_blank">homecoming</a> videos are so sweet and special. Just like this one.

Little Ronin wanted nothing more than for his dad to be here for his birthday. Air Force SMSgt. Mark Coffelt was on his third deployment, eight months in Al Udeid, Qatar. Still, when his little man’s big day came, he planned the most suspenseful homecoming to date, with a little help from Ronin’s mom.

She records Ronin opening a massive package from his dad. Inside, there is another package, with his name on it. Inside it, another. On one of the boxes, the Senior Master Sergeant wrote to his son how sorry he is for not being able to make it home for his <a href="" target="_blank">birthday</a>.

"There have been quite a few problems happening here and it looks like I will not be able to be home for your birthday this year," Ronin read aloud, his voice quivering. "I was able to get you a special surprise, so I hope this makes up for me not coming home. I love you with all my heart and I miss you very much, Daddy," Ronin read. As he finished the letter, tears of sorrow began streaming down his cheeks.

But mom encouraged him to keep opening the boxes. Why so many boxes? The last one had but a note inside with just one word written on it. “Surprise!” Ronin reads and looks up to meet his dad, back home from deployment. Of course, he wouldn’t miss his son’s birthday for the world!

There is nothing positive about war. It’s the ultimate downfall of humanity destroying the lives of all people involved. But sometimes it is necessary, sometimes it’s inevitable. War makes people grow old in the matter of seconds and children grow up even faster than that. It leaves devastation and it takes years and years to regain some semblance of normalcy.

Being in the military is hard for both the <a href="" target="_blank">soldier</a> and the family. It’s hard to leave the comfort and the love of your close ones and fly all the way to the other side of the planet, but it’s what’s necessary. It’s knowing that the sacrifices you’re making will guarantee the safety of your loved ones.
This feeling solidifies the moment your feet plant themselves on home ground and you see the smiling faces of the people you’ve missed the entire time. There’s no better feeling than the feel of their arms around you the moment they spot you.

This footage shows us a collection of heartwarming surprise homecomings by the people in the <a href="" target="_blank">U.S. military</a>. It shows parents sneaking up on their children in school, during graduation, during parties, brothers and sister seeing their younger siblings after months and years, parents hugging their children and it’s all amazing. They are all amazing. Here’s to the moms and dads, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers who serve and sacrifice for our country.

It is hard for families when one of their members goes away to serve their country. Countless men and women make it their life’s path to protect and serve the country they love, but that means that they have to leave their loved ones behind.

Adults might have it easier, because they understand what is at stake here. Children, on the other hand, struggle with the idea that mommy or daddy will be gone for a long period of time. That is why these <a href="” target="_blank">homecoming</a> videos are always a delight to watch. Grab your tissues, folks, because this one is a tearjerker.

Air Force Technical Sergeant Andre Tetrault went to his son's after school program and waited in anticipation for him to turn the corner. Tetrault was deployed in Kuwait for over six months and hasn't seen his ten-year-old son, until now. Watch the moment they reunite in this incredibly heartmelting video. We have butterflies watching him wait for his son to come around the corner.

The surprise was on both of them, because just as the <a href="" target="_blank">boy</a> had no idea his dad was just around the corner with his mom, Sgt Tetrault had no idea when he will pop up. The suspense is building up….until the kid turns the corner, gives a quick look down to the man in uniform waiting there, turns to his mom for a fraction of a second and it dawns on him.


It is both the softest and strongest hug we have seen in a very long time. Do you have any tissues?


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