FORT WORTH, Texas - Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 returned home Wednesday to NAS-JRB in Fort Worth after a six-month deployment overseas.
Their family and friends were there to welcome them home, except for a second-grader who got a special surprise from her stepfather.
7-year-old Jax Severe was headed back to her Tanglewood Elementary School classroom Thursday afternoon when she spotted quite an unexpected face.
Her stepfather, Corporal Eric Simon, is back at home a month early after six months overseas in Korea and Japan.
Mom Dakota Severe was determined to bring Jax a little joy after a bumpy journey over the last few years.
"I came from Aspen, and Jax had a gastrointestinal problem that couldn’t be treated there because there’s no children’s hospital," she explained.
So Dakota, her mom and Jax moved from Colorado to Fort Worth for continual treatment at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
"And then six months later, I met the love of my life," she said.
Originally from Massachusetts, Corporal Simon transferred to Fort Worth from Japan in August 2020. His next deployment was delayed due to the pandemic.
Fast-forward to the Texas freeze of February 2021, where Dakota and Corporal Simon ended up at the same party. Seven months later, they got married just before Simon left for Asia.
"It was rough. Really rough," he said. "Trying to make the time go by as fast as possible."
Dakota welcomed Corporal Simon home Wednesday night at the Fort Worth Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.
But Thursday’s surprise was just for Jax.
"I don't think he’s missed one single school event down to the Halloween party. He was on FaceTime," Dakota said.
Their little family is now back together again just in time for another celebration.
Jax turns 8 years old on Monday. That also happens to be Dakota and Simon’s anniversary.