Catherine Ross, NBC 5 News
The holiday reunion was a surprise to Airman 1st Class Alfter Thompson's three children.
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.