Florida soldier surprises kids, returns home to photobomb picture session

Florida soldier surprises kids, returns home to photobomb picture session
Lt. Col. Simon McKenzie gave his children a memorable gift on Father's Day when he surprised them at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. (Air Force/Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez)

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida’s MacDill Air Force Base has a long and glorious connection with bombers. So, it was only fitting that on Father’s Day, an Army soldier commanded his own mission: photobombing his family’s picture-taking session.

Kristin McKenzie planned a photo session with her three children Sunday at the base, located in Tampa, WFLA reported. Photographer Hannah Sanchez kept the children busy, posing them for a nice group photo.

Enter Lt. Col. Simon McKenzie, who ran from a nearby car and sneaked up behind his family.

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The Army veteran had been deployed before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States. He had been deployed to Qatar on Feb. 25 and was not expected back in the country until September, according to WFLA

It was executed with military precision.

“Look behind, you guys,” Sanchez tells the children.

Once they realized their father was home, the children squealed with delight and hugged him.

Simon McKenzie moved from Washington, D.C. to Tampa in 2018, WFLA reported. His family moved to the area in 2019.

“In the kids’ minds it was all the same,” Kristin McKenzie told the television station. “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 the pandemic, Simon McKenzie was unable to complete all of the requirements for his mission, WFLA reported. That allowed him to return home early.

“Having him come home two months early was such a gift to all our hearts,” Kristin McKenzie told the television station.