A Miami Dolphins Fan Soldier Comes Home


This image is courtesy of the Douglas County Sentinel.

Ron Daniel/Douglas County Sentinel

South Douglas Elementary School fifth grader Ethan Miller got a holiday surprise Monday as his father, National Guard/Air Force Msgt. James Miller, came home three months early from a tour of Afghanistan. Ethan thought he would be skyping with his dad Monday night, and was shocked to see him walk into his classroom at SDES.

It was supposed to be six months to a year depending on the whims of the United States military.  It turned out to be just over three months.  Three months isn’t even a football season and for this Miami Dolphins fan who missed reading the daily drivel on Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, coming home may just be in time for the playoffs.

Air National Guard Master Sgt. James Miller left his tour in Afghanistan a few days ago and yesterday arrived in his hometown of Atlanta, Ga.  We have all seen the sneaky surprise videos that have gone viral of soldier surprising their wives or children and yesterday would be no different for Jim.  He arrived in Atlanta shortly after 8:00 AM and after some wait for his luggage made a beeline home where his wife waited outside for him in the cold rain.  As James’ brother Roger described it, “he didn’t even wait for the car to stop”.

From their home Jim, his wife Amber, and brother Roger took off to surprise his 5th grade son.  Awaiting them was the local paper, The Douglas County Sentinel, (click to read more of the story) to record the coming home surprise.  The schools principal announced to the class that a special guest was going to talk with them and the newspaper walked in.  Needless to say Ethan, Jim’s son was like most kids.  “A newspaper”.  Behind them however came the real joy.  See Ethan is a strong mix between “momma’s boy” and “daddy’s boy”, leaning towards the latter as he gets older.

I can only go off what Roger said regarding Ethan’s face.  Stone cold.  Disbelief.  Non-registering.  Jim looked slimmer but his features were still the same yet for a second or two rather by shear disbelief or failed immediate recognition, Ethan sat there.  Then his eyes widened, glossed over, and he ran to hug his father.

Roger said it seemed like an eternity but the truth was Ethan wasn’t going to let go.  He was the proud owner of school book back that was designed to look exactly like his father rucksack right down to the embroidered name plate “Miller”.  After teary eyes, Jim picked up the backpack slung it over his back and they headed home.

Why am I telling you this?  Well if you are a regular reader of this site you will know that Jim is not only a HUGE Miami Dolphins fan but also my brother.  I called him last night but only briefly so he could spend the night with his wife and son.  I asked him what he was doing now that he was home and he laughed and said, “Comfy pants and clean socks!”.  You know the stuff we take for granted…as did he.

Jim hasn’t seen a regular season game yet this season here in the states and this weekend he won’t need to jerry-rig a makeshift antennae to grab the feed they use overseas.  He will get to watch it live along with us.

Jim is home in time for the holidays and he is safe.  There a thousand more who either are not home, or didn’t make it home safely.  Take a moment and say a prayer for all our soldiers that they too may reunite with their families soon.  Just as many of you did for Jim.  Thank you all for those prayers.

Welcome home Jim.  Missed you.