Middle East

Marine Surprises His Son, Daughter at Elementary School

After seven months serving overseas, the father and his two children were reunited

He's a dad and a Marine. Now he's the subject of one of those unforgettable moments.

After seven months serving overseas, Gunnery Sgt. Juan Jimenez surprised his two children at E. Hale Curran Elementary School in Murrieta on Tuesday.

Jimenez was separated from his children while serving in the Middle East, where his unit provides mechanical support for aircraft fighting the terror group ISIS.

First-grader Juan Jr. and preschooler Isabel were surprised during library reading time when their father walked in.

Fittingly, the class was reading the book "Hero Dad" by Melinda Hardin when Jimenez made his entry. The book is about a boy who compares his father, an American soldier stationed in the Middle East, to a superhero.

After a heartfelt reunion with their father, Jimenez's son already had plans for dad.

"Can we go to Chuck E. Cheese?" he asked.


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Jimenez happily obliged Juan Jr.’s pizza request.

The Marine told NBC4 that he was able to stay in contact with his children through the Internet while he served overseas, but "it’s not the same as being able to hold them and talk to them."

He is currently based in Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the U.S. Marine Corps.

"I just miss them," Jimenez said. "They’re my whole life."

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