Third-grader didn't know father had returned from Afghanistan

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Sgt. Brandon Miller is reunited with his son Hayden, 8, a third-grader at Graham A. Barden Elementary School, on Tuesday in Havelock. The Cherry Point-based Marine just returned from Afghanistan and surprised his son at school.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 11:51 PM.

Hayden Adkins thought his Marine father was coming home from overseas in about 30 days, but on Tuesday, the Graham A. Barden Elementary School third-grader got a big surprise.

The 8-year-old was in the library with classmates when his dad, Sgt. Brandon Miller, snuck in for an impromptu reunion.

Hayden turned to see his father and seemed to be in disbelief. Then he said, “Hey Dad. You need to shave your mustache.”

The two quickly embraced as wife and mother Melissa Miller shed tears at the sight of the pair as she held the couple’s other child, 2-year-old daughter Layla.

The Millers, of Havelock, had arranged with school administrators to have the reunion at school.

“With my dad being in the Army my entire life, I knew my dad was coming home so when I was at school, I would be watching the door to see if he’s coming,” Brandon Miller said of his own childhood. “He never did because he always got home late.”

Miller said he had tried to surprise his son before but logistics weren’t right to make it happen.

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