HAMPTON, Va. - Master Sergeant David Elliott has been deployed in Kuwait since October. This is is his first deployment since having kids, which made it so much harder. But the homecoming his fiance planned with the Peninsula Pilots made it all worth it.
Early Wednesday evening, Elliott strapped on shin guards, pulled the vest over his head and put on a Peninsula Pilots helmet.
"We're gonna try and get them distracted when they get up to the mound," said Elliott. "I've been deployed before and it was different. I didn't have kids at the time. I didn't have a relationship. This time, totally different ball game."
It took Mom, Brie McArthur and the Peninsula Pilots months to plan. Chestney, Nathaniel and David would throw out the first pitch, except Dad would be there to catch the ball.
Once Sergeant Elliott caught the ball, he took off the helmet and sunglasses, revealing himself to the kids. They sprinted toward him. The crowd cheered.
"Oh, I missed you guys! It feels so good to see you guys. Surprise!" said Elliott as he hugged his kids.
Even though Mom said she's not a crier, she couldn't hold back tears.
"They're only going to be this age one time. We'll never get this day back again. So it's tough and we made it," said McArthur.
Elliott said the wait was worth it. Right when he saw his kids, he wanted to hug them right away, but had to keep his composure.
"I loved it. It was amazing. My oldest son jumped up and caught me in the jawbone with his shoulder. It was the best punch in the face in a long time," laughed Elliott.
A punch he would probably take over and over again.