TODAY | March 08, 2014
>>> 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.
>> dad. i had no clue. i was really surprised.
>> had to get your attention.
>> 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