Skip to Content

Navy sailor returns home for Christmas, surprising his two young children after 18 months apart


Click here for updates on this story

    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — After a year and a half away from his kids, deployed to Africa, Petty Officer First Class Matthew Roeder was reunited with his young children three days before Christmas.

The heartwarming homecoming was a surprise to 10-year-old Amelia and 6-year-old Rylan who thought they were picking up a friend of their grandmother’s at the airport.

The siblings from Mississippi were visiting their grandparents for the holidays in Mobile.

They had no clue their Christmas wish would be fulfilled, seeing their dad for the first time in more than a year and a half.

As Roeder walked through the revolving doors at Mobile Regional Airport, his kids were waiting on the other side.

When they laid eyes on theire father they were overcome with joy, running and jumping into his arms as he scooped them up and held them tight.

“Long days to get here and it’s been a long while of even seeing these guys so it’s a great homecoming,” said Petty Officer First Class Matthew Roeder.

The sweet surprise was pulled off by Roeder’s parents who, after learning he was approved to be on leave, planned to surprise his children before Christmas.

“I saw him and I was shaking, I was crying and I don’t know what I was feeling, really I was happy,” said Amelia.

Roeder’s mother, Marty, choked up seeing her son reunited with his kids.

“Oh my gosh. It means the world to me, spending time with him because he’s been in the service so long. it’s so precious any moment I get to see him, to talk to him, to hear from him at all is a moment.”

Roeder just finished his deployment to Africa and will be flying back for work in Virginia the day after Christmas, but another surprise is in store for his sister who they’ll be visiting in Mississippi before he leaves.

Thank you for your service Petty Officer Roeder!

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: National & World

Jump to comments ↓



KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content