Returning Marine surprises his two sons

April 3, 2009 3:36:29 PM PDT
A Marine back from war today is celebrating his safe homecoming with his two sons. Corporal Jason Smith's visit to his son's class at Linwood Elementary school was so unexpected, 8-year-old Jason Jr. and 10-year-old Gary could barely believe their eyes.

He surprised them by showing up at school after a 7-month tour in Iraq.

"I'm just very glad to be home. I've been away from home so long; it's just great to be home. They're the pride and joy of my life. I don't think I would ever be able to go on without them in my life at all," Corporal Smith said.

Jason Jr. was ecstatic and said he looks forward to hugging his father again.

Gary was stunned by his dad's sudden appearance.

The decorated Marine is returning from a second tour of duty. The first was in 2003 while on active duty during a 4 year enlistment. This one was a surprise.

"One day a FedEx package came to me saying I was involuntary recalled, do another year in active duty status," Corporal Smith said.

The single parent is not with the boys; mom so he left them with his parents while patrolling Iraq as a military police officer.

The separation was particularly painful for his oldest son.

"I sent him a birthday card yesterday and our whole class made him cards," Gary said.

Turning 31 yesterday, his sons' smiles were the best present he could get.

"He's kind. He's a good dad. He's helpful," Jason Jr. said.

Jason plans to embrace civilian life by going securing work in heating and air conditioning, playing baseball with the boys, and he hopes service to his country doesn't force him to leave his sons again.

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