Airman Surprises Sons, Wife Days Early From Deployment

"I wish that every family could have the same kind of return that I'm getting right now," the airman said.

By John Cádiz Klemack and Willian Avila
|  Thursday, Oct 17, 2013  |  Updated 10:38 AM PDT
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What started as a patriotic school assembly at Gregg Anderson Academy in Palmdale turned into a homecoming when Master Sargeant James Bonner made a surprise visit home to his wife and two sons. Bonner has been stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since April at his first-ever deployment. John Cadiz Klemack reports from Palmdale for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2013.

John Cadiz Klemack

What started as a patriotic school assembly at Gregg Anderson Academy in Palmdale turned into a homecoming when Master Sargeant James Bonner made a surprise visit home to his wife and two sons. Bonner has been stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since April at his first-ever deployment. John Cadiz Klemack reports from Palmdale for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2013.

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Marcus Bonner and his brother, Joseph, didn't think much about the school assembly they planned on attending Wednesday afternoon. 

What they didn't know was that the event was being held to honor their father, Air Force Master Sgt. James M. Bonner, and that he had arrived home early from his deployment to greet the boys and their mother, who was tricked into thinking she was attending a PTA meeting at the school.

Fresh from a six-month stint in Guantanamo Bay and dressed in fatigues, Bonner wrapped his arms around his two boys and wife in the middle of the playground at Gregg Anderson Academy in Palmdale. The family wasn't expecting him to return until Saturday.

"I wish that every family could have the same kind of return that I'm getting right now cause this is very special," the father said after the emotional reunion.

The last time Bonner saw his sons Marcus, a fourth-grader, and Joseph, a first-grader, was the morning of April 5, when he sneaked out of the house to avoid a difficult goodbye.

"A lot of my comrades won't be coming home to their families," he said. "Sometimes it seems like America has forgotten what we're fighting for. We don't choose to leave our families. We do this because we love our country."

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