- Posted August 6, 2013 by
Winter Park, Florida
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Salute to troops
Navy Chief Surprises Wife at Cheesecake Factory by Blending In With the Waiters
The return home hasn't been without difficulties, however. He says: 'The main challenge we have had is becoming a family again after experiencing very different lives independent of each other. In truth, my surprise return was somewhat difficult because my wife did not feel prepared to have me back home. My wife is the real hero in this story because while I was deployed, she took amazing care of my daughter and ensured she knew who I was when I returned ... In the past four months, we've been making good progress and we're learning how to be a family again.'
- jccarp, CNN iReport producer
After a year long deployment in Afghanistan, I decided to surprise my wife and daughter as I came home. This was also the first time she saw me in my new uniform since I had been promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer during the deployment.
Originally, I had planned to have the surprise at our church with 500+ people sharing in the surprise. A week prior to my arrival, my wife told me she had to work on the day I had planned and she wouldn't be at church that day. So, I had to enlist her dad's help to get the family to the Cheesecake Factory a few days early.
The staff at the Cheesecake Factory was extremely accommodating and helped me walk in behind a team of waiters. Their white uniforms helped me blend in as I surprised my wife in my full dress white uniform. My wife's face was priceless! She was absolutely surprised and her expression was total shock. Today we're both thankful that we are home together with no additional deployments in the foreseeable future.