After nine months away from home, Airman 1st Class Alfter Thompson surprised his three children by arriving in time for Thanksgiving.
It had been 248 days -- or 5,000 some minutes -- since Camille Thompson's husband left for military training, according to her calculations.
For nine months, the family waited.
"We talk on the computer, talk on our Xbox and write letters," 7-year-old Mason said.
The holiday reunion was a surprise to Mason and his younger brother and sister.
His mother had told them they needed to pick up a family friend at the airport.
She herself had only learned of her husband’s earlier-than-expected arrival days before.
"He was saying things like, you should make a turkey," she said. "I was suspicious, but I didn't want to push it, because I know how hard it is for him to keep a surprise."
By the time the family came together again, dinner had already been cooking for hours. But they said they'll most remember the ability to be together for Thanksgiving Day.