Marine surprises family with several homecomings
After four years serving in the United States Marine Corps, a Lawton man returned home Tuesday and surprised his family who hadn't seen him in over a year.
Sgt. Michael Mooney, 22, joined the Marine Corps immediately after he graduated from MacArthur High School in 2014. He recently completed his enlisted time, with his last assignment being in Japan.
Earlier this week, he landed at the airport, where his father, Bink Mooney the surprise mastermind picked him up and drove him to Lawton to surprise his mom, Tammy Mooney, and his sisters, 19-year-old Chantalle Mooney, 14-year-old Summer Mooney and 10-year-old Autumn Mooney.
Bink said he was ecstatic for his son's plane to land, and he glued his eyes to the windows, watching and waiting.
"Every employee at Southwest Airlines in Dallas knew my son was coming in because I kept checking the flights," he said.
The original plan was to stop by MacArthur High School at 2 p.m. to see one sister, then drive to Freedom Elementary School to greet his other sister and his mother, a fourth-grade teacher, but his mother wasn't actually at school Tuesday.
Instead, she was running errands with his dad Tuesday morning, while Michael went to get a haircut. At this point, his mother still didn't know he was in town, but he accidently ran into her while she was with his dad at Central Mall inside the U.S.Marine Recruiting Center.
Bink said when his wife and son saw each other, they were stunned and simply said each other's names before sharing a hug.
"I had to keep from crying," Tammy said.
Although Bink and Michael were looking forward to surprising Tammy at school, there remained two school-aged sisters to surprise. His other sister, Chantalle, graduated from MacArthur in 2016 and saw her brother for the first time during lunch, but she tagged along for the big surprise.
Bink, Tammy, Michael and Chantalle, along with four Marines who work in the local recruiting center, made two stops, one at MacArthur High School to see Summer and another at Freedom Elementary School to greet Autumn.
Inside Summer's classroom, Gunnery Sgt. Jessie Wu pretended to give the class of ninth graders a lecture on the importance of family in the military, while Michael stood outside the classroom, waiting for his cue to enter.
"Summer, what's your favorite part about summer," Wu said.
"Being with my family," Summer responded.
Wu nodded his head and said, "Let's spend some time with your family today. Get on in here (Michael)."
Summer, sitting at the front of the classroom, jumped up from her seat to hug her brother as tears streamed down her face. Their father then spoke to the other students who just watched the surprise unfold.