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Air Force father surprises sons with hom

Five-year-old Benjamin Cox looked slightly confused when his 4-year-old brother, Noah, and other family members were brought into his kindergarten class at Martin Bluff Elementary this morning.

Homecoming at Martin Bluff Elementary
Martin Bluff Elementary kindergartner Benjamin Cox and his brother, Noah, get surprised by their dad, Ben Cox, who has been deployed with the Air Force for the last 189 days.
But it started to make sense when his daddy, Ben Cox, arrived in his classroom doorway. Cox has been deployed with the Air Force to an undisclosed location in southwest Asia for the past 189 days, he said, "but who's counting?"

As soon as little Benjamin recognized his father, the tears began to flow. His dad silently crossed the room and embraced both the boys, and mother Crystal Cox joined in on the warm embraces.

Benjamin has been telling his classmates that his dad would be home "in two weeks," his teacher, Tammy Morrison, said.

"He loves his daddy," she said. "He's a wonderful student, very shy and soft spoken and very smart. When he Skypes with his dad, he always comes back and tell us all about it."

Morrison says she tries to take pictures of him on field trips or on special occasions -- like when his first tooth fell out at school -- so she can share it with his mom, who passes it along to his dad.

Crystal Cox said the boys got to speak to their father on webcam and by phone almost daily.

"They got ready for school early so they could talk to dad before school," she said.

She said while her husband was deployed, "it was rough" and she looks forward to some help refereeing the boys.

The boys just want to play with their dad, they said.

Ben Cox said he most looks forward to spending the holidays with his family. In his 14 years of service, he hasn't had to miss the holidays yet, he said.

Crystal Cox said she got the idea to surprise Benjamin at school because the two often watch similar homecoming videos on YouTube and cry together.

"One time he asked me, 'You're not going to do that to me, are you?' and I told him, 'No, baby. I'd never do that to you,'" she said with a laugh.

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Submitted: 11/23/2013
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