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Watch heartfelt reunion with 7-year-old son who hasn’t seen deployed dad in 20 months

Service members salute the American flag during a retreat ceremony Oct. 2, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The four military members represented each branch of the U.S. military and assembled to show solidarity. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel)
January 11, 2019

It was a magical moment for a second-grade Wisconsin boy on Monday when his dad, who has been deployed to Bahrain for nearly two years, showed up to surprise him.

The reunion took place at the boy’s school during a skating class, in Whitefish Bay, Fox 8 News reported.

Seven-year-old Ethan Anderson has only been able to speak to his dad via FaceTime and often would get “good night” calls from him.

The time difference meant that Jon-Andrew Anderson would have to call his son at 4 a.m. Middle East time to say good night to his boy.

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Watch their reunion here:


Ethan’s dad said, “However long you’re gone from home, it’s always worth it for the day you get to come back. I haven’t seen him in 20 months. Once you hang up with him, it’s back, it’s back to 135 degrees and getting back on the ship and going.”

Anderson has been serving as a Captain in the U.S. Navy in Bahrain since April 2017.

Young Ethan said, “I thought I was only going to see him next Christmas. But I get to see him now!”

Anderson won’t have any more deployments for a long while and will spend about a week with his son before he relocates to Washington, D.C., but he is excited that he will get to spend a lot more time with Ethan.

In November, a family in Pennsylvania was reunited when a military dad showed up unexpectedly just in time for Christmas, according to Fox News.

Sgt. Adam Powell, with the Army National Guard, was behind the door that Santa opened while Powell’s wife and three kids were there for a visit.

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Powell, who was deployed in Jordan for the past year said, “My kids and my wife are everything to me. So being home, being back, being reunited. It’s a great feeling. It’s a surreal ending to everything.”

Another special reunion took place in Minnesota in December for Army Capt. Steven Guptill and his two daughters, CBS Minnesota reported.

Guptill hadn’t seen his wife and children, 8-year-old Olivia and 5-year-old Caitlyn, since March after being deployed to Kuwait.

Olivia wrote a letter to Santa “It says ‘Dear Santa, I have a very special request this year. I really want you to bring my daddy home for Christmas,’” Capt. Guptill said.

Guptill knew he had to make it home for Christmas, and he did.

He and his wife set the reunion up “inside the Santa Experience at Mall of America,” CBS reported.

When the girls went to see Santa and he asked them what they wanted for Christmas, Caitlyn said, “For my dad to come home.”

Santa stood up and said, “Look what I found,” as he ushered the girl’s father in.

“Better than I could have imagined even. And these girls, they’re growing up, they’ve changed so much just in the last nine months,” Capt. Guptill said.

“Best Christmas ever,” Olivia said.

Olivia’s mom, Becca, said, “It’s about family, and it’s about being with the people that you love.”