• 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

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

  • DayBreak

    Cup with the Chief: Introducing Anchorage’s new police chief

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 08, 11:08

    After more than 32 years of public service, Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew will take off his badge and try something different. Next week, former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Chris Tolley will become Anchorage’s new police chief. According to Mew, the new chief will be sworn in at a ceremony Monday afternoon. Thursday Mew […]

  • Weather

    Strong Pacific storm expected to reach southeast Alaska by Friday

    by Rachael Penton on Oct 08, 9:22

    A powerful storm is expected to reach the southern portion of the Alaska panhandle beginning Friday morning. Earlier in the week, the same storm, known as the category 2 hurricane “Oho,” was making it’s way across the Pacific Ocean. The storm is now an extratropical storm, meaning it’s no longer a hurricane, but is still powerful. Sustained […]

  • News

    US airman who helped thwart French train attack is stabbed

    by CNN / AP on Oct 08, 8:18

      SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, hailed as a hero for helping to tackle a gunman on a French train in August, was stabbed and seriously wounded outside a bar early Thursday in what police said was an alcohol-related fight that had nothing to do with terrorism. Stone, 23, was stabbed […]

  • News

    Bethel residents support liquor store, advisory vote finds

    by Associated Press on Oct 08, 6:29

    Unofficial election results from a non-binding advisory vote in Bethel show that most residents would support a liquor store in the city. Early results from Tuesday’s municipal election show that about 56 percent of voters support a liquor license application for a liquor store. This spring, the Bethel Native Corporation applied for a package liquor […]

  • Sports

    New season, new facilities, new attitude: UAA hockey is ready to go

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 07, 23:10

    Everything looks new, much of it is. Renovated or new facilities don’t guarantee wins. But they can cultivate a positive attitude. The University of Alaska Anchorage hockey team is feeling those good vibes. From the brand new Brush Christiansen Hockey Center on campus to the improved Sullivan Arena, the Seawolves feel they and their fans are […]

  • News

    Cuddy Park ducks cause big problems, hunt for solutions begins

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 07, 21:58

    For years, Cherie Northon with the Anchorage Waterways Council has been asking people not to feed the ducks at Cuddy Park in midtown Anchorage. Constant feeding, she said, is keeping too many of them around. But Northon said the message is more important now than ever since some of the highest levels of fecal coliform […]

  • News

    Walking with wolves: Alaska Zoo to host Wolf Day

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 07, 21:42

    The Alaska Zoo is giving visitors a chance to see grey wolves a little closer this weekend by hosting ”wolf day” on Saturday. The zoo has five resident wolves. Staff often take them out for enrichment walks behind their enclosure to give the animals a chance to get used to different sights and smells. Visitors will get […]

  • Lifestyle

    Native wood carving makes a comeback at Anchorage Museum

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 07, 20:11

    Traditional Native wood carving is coming back to the Anchorage Museum. Three master carvers — John Hudson (Tsimshian), Norman Jackson (Tlingit) and Donald Varnell (Haida) – are taking part in a week-long residency at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center. “Voices from Cedar” is part of an exhibit at the museum showing modern and traditional carvings next to […]