Soldier surprises kids with early return

Sep 13, 2012

One mid-Missouri soldier has returned home early from his deployment to Afghanistan. Yesterday, Sergeant Major Mike Lederle attended a flag presentation assembly at Southern Boone High School. But the soldier’s presence was a surprise for  his 9th and 11th graders who attended the assembly.

The moment was seconds away, but Sergeant Major Lederle was ready for battle. His boots were tied, his gear was perfectly rolled and tucked in, and his posture was stoic. But this time, it wasn’t an enemy he was confronting, it was anticipation.

“Yeah, they’re gonna be, they’re gonna be emotional goo just like their dad," Lederle says, laughing.

And to pull off the heist, Lederle’s wife Kena had her own dilemma to deal with on the home front. The kids, Samantha and Trenten, knew something was up, but weren’t quite sure what.

“I’ve only gotta make it through one more evening, come on, I can’t blow it now," Kena says.

Luckily, their cover wasn’t blown. The old wood floor creaked as Lederle and Kena entered the gymnasium at Southern Boone High. They didn’t get very far before Samantha and Trenten came bolting to hug their hero.
With the big entrance and surprise, Trenten was more excited for the simpler things

“Uh, we can all go watch movies now,” Trenten says.

And for Samantha, it was all still settling in.

“I am so shocked right now, it’s awesome,” Samantha says.

Though his boots were still tied and uniform still perfect, Sergeant Major Lederle’s posture was a little less tense as he finally wrapped his arms around his family.

“Just to see their, might get emotional here, just to see their face and know that we’re just a family again. It’s awesome," Lederle says.

The flag that Lederle brought home with him, that once flew high in enemy territory, now had a home in Southern Boone High.

You can see more pictures of the soldier's return, here.