TODAY   |  March 08, 2014

Airman returning from Afghanistan surprises kids

Air Force Tech Sgt. Edward Goettig, an airman home from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan, gave his children the surprise of a lifetime. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> we never get tired of seeing the men and women who proudly serve this country come back home to their loved ones, safe and sound.

>> something about a reunion, isn't there, especially when that homecoming is as sweet as the not just one that we're about to show you. here's miguel almaguer.

>> reporter: air force tech sergeant edward gowdik is used to special missions, but even he has never gone under cover quite like this.

>> we have four girls, and i like to surprise them.

>> reporter: dressed as a high school mascot, the sergeant, back from a six-month deployment in afghanistan, is here to surprise his oldest daughter, bailey, who has no idea dad is finally home.

>> i was so surprised. i thought my friends told me to come to lunch and i thought it was like to meet a friend or something.

>> it was just wonderful to see that smile on her face.

>> reporter: "operation surprise" is just getting started. the sergeant off to a second school just outside salt lake ci city, the back window of his daughter, sidney's class.

>> hi.

>> dad. i had no clue. i was really surprised.

>> had to get your attention.

>> yeah.

>> reporter: but with four daughters, his work is only half done. the sergeant is front and center at this special assembly. her first hug from her dad in half a year.

>> come here. okay.

>> reporter: now 10-year-old olivia's turn. her big present, dad inside the box .

>> surprise. hi! happy birthday !

>> reporter: a special birthday, and for this family, an incredible gift.

>> together at last.

>> reporter: for "today," miguel almaguer, nbc