Soldier surprises family with Memorial Day homecoming.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 10:10am

It's a Memorial Day that one little girl will never forget.

After six months in Iraq, Army National Guard Sgt. John Linville returned home and surprised his daughter at her softball game.

Linville literally just completed his second tour of duty in time to turn around and come home on Monday.

After his wife, Heather Linville, picked him up at the airport, the couple drove to surprise their daughter, 8-year-old Katie Linville, at the game.

Katie is a member of the U-8 Bethel Tigers.

As Katie and her teammates warmed up on the ball field at Ohio Township Park, John swooped in to greet Katie, her two sisters and brother.

The happy family reunion was met with applause and handshakes from the other parents.

"Words can hardly explain. I'm all emotional. To be honest, it's hard to pull myself together," Sgt. Linville said.

"I've been going all day. It's like my mind is going 100 mph. It's great, he's back, the kids are ecstatic. The kids missed him a lot," Heather Linville added.

Keeping the homecoming secret was actually Katie's coach's idea.

"Not only is it great for a soldier to come home on Memorial Day, but Katie got her daddy back and that's the biggest thing for us," coach Kendra Burton said.

Those watching said they enjoyed the moment almost as much as Katie and her siblings.

John Linville said he needs to decompress after months in Iraq and he just wants to spend time with his family talking, playing games and relaxing.

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