• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 57s

Airman shocks family with sweet homecoming surprise

By Bonney Bowman Photojournalist: John Thain - 7:43 PM August 4, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

An Anchorage airman orchestrated a homecoming surprise for his family, thanks to the help of his wife’s friends and co-workers.

Katie Smith is a nurse at the Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute. Monday, she had no idea the patient waiting behind the curtain would be her husband.

Senior Airman Eric Smith has been away from his family for five and a half months, plus one long plane ride.

“It was 36 hours to get from Al Udeid [Air Base] to here,” Eric Smith said. The air base is located west of Qatar.

In a few minutes he knows the journey will be worth it, but until then Smith says he’s feeling nervous.

Across the hospital from where Eric Smith is waiting, his wife is going about her day. She’s the lead imaging RN.

Their 4-year-old daughter Peyton is there too. She’s counting the days until her dad comes home. She thinks it’s 23.

Eric, who is never far from Katie’s mind, comes up in conversation.

“He wasn’t here, he was gone when [Peyton] was born,” she said. “I was hoping he’d make it back. She starts kindergarten on the 20th and I was like, ‘come on, send him home one week early. One week.’”

Eric Smith has known for a while he’d be coming home one month early, but he kept it a secret from the two people he loves most.

“I’ve been in the military about six years now. Probably three and a half, four of them I’ve been gone and I’ve never got to surprise her or anything,” he said.

Finally, it’s his chance to give his family the surprise of a lifetime, and it goes perfectly. She rushes to hug her husband and kisses him on the cheek.

Katie says she was shocked to see him. Peyton is overjoyed.

There’s one more surprise on the agenda, but this time it’s for Eric.

“We actually bought a house while I was gone, so I haven’t seen it. I told them I wanted that to be a surprise too so probably we’ll go into our house for the first time,” he said.

Katie Smith’s co-workers made sure her shifts for the rest of Monday and Tuesday were covered so she and Eric and Peyton can have a couple days together, enjoying their new home and each other.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Caribou masks capture spirit of Nunamiut culture

    by Heather Hintze on May 26, 20:39

    Caribou mask making is an intricate artform Lela Ahgook has honed over time. At 72 years old, she’s now an elder in Anaktuvuk Pass, where she’s been doing it since the 1960s. “Every piece of the caribou is here,” she pointed out where she used the hoof on the forehead of a mask lined with […]

  • News

    Safety Fair teaches outdoor safety to new military members

    by Bonney Bowman on May 26, 20:15

    Memorial Day weekend means it’s time to get outside and enjoy Alaska, but without the right skills and equipment exploring the backcountry can be risky – especially for people new to the state, like many soldiers and airmen stationed at JBER. Today the base held the 4th annual Occupational and Recreational Safety Fair, aimed at […]

  • News

    Anchorage doctor accused of overprescribing painkillers fights to keep license

    by Shannon Ballard on May 26, 19:45

    The Alaska State Medical Board has accused an Anchorage doctor of writing dangerous and potentially lethal prescriptions for his patients. The state suspended Dr. Mahmood Ahmad’s license earlier this month. On Thursday, he began his fight to appeal the decision and ultimately keep practicing in Alaska. Ahmad sat quietly as the first witness testified via […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The real reason to observe Memorial Day

    by John Tracy on May 26, 16:48

    I don’t know what you’re doing this Memorial Day, but chances are it will bear little resemblance to the reason we observe it. Whether you consider it the official start of summer, or the time to get a great deal on an appliance, the origins of the holiday can be traced to one of the […]

  • Weather

    Dangerous fire conditions across southcentral Alaska this weekend

    by KTVA 11 News on May 26, 16:45

    A fire weather watch has been issued for the Susitna Valley and Copper River Basin for the Memorial Day weekend. The watch goes into effect on Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday evening. Over the weekend, temperatures are forecast to climb into the 60s and 70s across southcentral Alaska. The warming temperatures, along with low relative […]

  • Politics

    Trump agrees to debate Sanders; Fox News is ‘interested’

    by Associated Press on May 26, 16:10

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Donald Trump is welcoming Bernie Sanders’ proposal that they meet in a debate but is setting a high price for participating. His condition: The hosting TV network would have to put up millions of dollars for charity. Representatives for Fox News and ABC News say the networks are “interested” in hosting such […]

  • Crime

    Drunk man steals front end loader, smashes it into liquor store and runs from police

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 12:51

      ANCHORAGE — An intoxicated man led Anchorage police on a chase early Thursday morning after stealing a front end loader from a construction site, then crashing it into a liquor store and stealing booze. Police were called to the Brown Jug Liquor store at 2200 Northern Lights Blvd. around 3:20 a.m. Thursday after a […]

  • Crime

    Two men arrested in connection with East Anchorage shootings

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 12:25

    The Anchorage Police Department has arrested and charged two men in connection with two East Anchorage shootings Thursday. According to a release from APD, both shootings happened just after 11 a.m. Thursday. Police said they were first notified of an incident involving a gun at the 4300 block of E. 9th Avenue. Police were told […]