ACHILLE, OK -- It started as a normal school day for Braidon Walson and his brother Zachary, with the weekly Friday morning assembly.
It wasn't normal.
Aaron Walson, the boys' dad, just returned Thursday night from a year deployment in South Korea. His three sons didn't know he was back until he showed up during the school's program.
"It was a good thing," Walson said. "I like surprising the boys."
Lacy Walson, his wife, helped set up the surprise visit.
"This year's been hard. And it's ... it was nice," she said.
The family lived in Alaska for four years. Lacy and the kids moved to Achille to be near her family when Aaron left for Korea.
But she still missed the support of her other family.
"You know, the military family. The ones that knew what we were going through and were probably going through the same thing," she said.
"I'm just glad to be home," Aaron said. "Be able to see them other than Skype, talking to them on the phone. Being able to see them in person."
April is military children awareness month. That was the theme of Friday's assembly.
"It's not just my kids in the school that are military children," Lacy said.
The school decided it was the perfect way to honor all kids with military parents - and re-unite the Walson boys with their dad.
The teachers managed to keep the secret of dad's return safe.
And the kids said it was "awesome."
The Air Force is moving him to South Dakota next month, Aaron said. But this time - his family's coming with him.