Army dad hides in truck for holiday homecoming surprise - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Army dad hides in truck for holiday homecoming surprise

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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

A father stationed in Kuwait comes home for the holidays a little early. But in order to surprise his three teenage children in Ocean Springs, Staff Sergeant Rod Styer and his wife, April, had to come up with a believable lie.

"Welcome Home Daddy! It's been long enough."

"Your only little girl has a new friend . . . It's a boy!"

"Your 16-year old is now 6' tall."

Those were the messages on the signs that helped welcome Army Staff Sergeant Rod Styer home on Tuesday. His wife, April lined Ocean Springs Road with them, so he could read about all that has changed in the nine months he's been stationed in Kuwait.

April also arranged one more covert operation for Staff Sergeant Styer to complete before seeing his kids.

"We're going to pull in and have my three teenage children come out to surprise them," explained Styer as he laid down in the back of his truck bed to hide. "They don't know I'm coming home today."

Styer was hidden as the truck backed into his driveway. Then as his children came around the back of the truck to help their mom get "groceries," he watched as shock overwhelmed them.

"Daddy? Daddy! Oh my goodness, Daddy!"

Fourteen-year-old Cameron Styer was undoubtedly the most excited. She actually jumped the tailgate, screaming with delight, to get to her dad.

"You were supposed to let me sit up!" exclaimed her dad.

Mission complete.

"For them to reach in there and see their dad . . .That was priceless," said April Styer. "With it being Christmas here and the way you see them pull it off on TV all the time, I wanted my kids to experience that."

Sixteen-year-old Caleb embraced his father just moments after waking up, realizing his Christmas dreams had come true.

"It's the best gift you could ever have. Having your dad on Christmas. It's pretty awesome," said Caleb.

"Wonderful feeling," said Staff Sergeant Styer. "Words can't explain how wonderful it feels to come home to a family that loves you and prays for you every day."

His oldest son, Coby, says his holidays couldn't have been more perfect.

"Whatever I get under the tree anything can't top what I just got in the back of a truck. You know, a dad coming home from overseas for Christmas is better than anything I could ever get."

Rod Styer is home for about two weeks before going back to Kuwait. And one more Christmas surprise.

Nineteen-year-old Coby just told his father he enlisted in the Army. He leaves in June.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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