Soldier returns home after months-long deployment, surprises kids with must-see photobomb

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TAMPA (WFLA) — A U.S. Army soldier returned home from deployment Sunday and gave his children a Father’s Day photobomb they will never forget.

Kristin McKenzie planned a picture-taking evening with friend and photographer Hannah Sanchez at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

The catch: Her husband, Lt. Col. Simon McKenzie — who had been deployed since before the coronavirus pandemic — was going to crash the event and surprise their children.

It was executed flawlessly.

Simon McKenzie moved from Washington, D.C. to Tampa in 2018. Kristin and the kids joined him in 2019 and they have been living in the area ever since.

McKenzie was deployed to Qatar on Feb. 25. He was scheduled to be gone until September.

“In the kids’ minds it was all the same,” Kristin said. “They were without their daddy for a year — even though we did see him once a month or every other month — and then he deployed shortly after us getting back together.”

Because of COVID-19, Kristin said Simon was unable to complete all the requirements of his mission, so he was sent back to America.

“Having him come home two months early was such a gift to all our hearts,” she said.

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