ROSEWOOD, TX (KLTV) - As far as school days go, it was a normal one at Harmony Elementary School, with students filling the cafeteria for lunch. 10-year-old Presley Smith sat by her two sisters, Peyton and Parker talking with friends, enjoying a break from classes.
Outside, Chief Warrant Officer, Jason Smith, father of the three girls, walked alongside his wife, Jamie, to see his three daughters for the first time in six months. Pushing the cafeteria door open and stepping inside, the girls sensed his presence. It became a race to hug dad first with nine-year-old Parker winning as she jumped into her father's arms. Just a step behind, Presley and Peyton made up for it, locking their arms around the father they hadn't seen since before Christmas.
The past six months have been long ones for Smith. As a helicopter pilot in the Army, he was limited to around a phone call a week with his family along with frequent emails. After surprising his daughters, Smith shared his emotions.
"Walking into the school, my heart was exploding just getting ready to see all these girls," he said.
The girls held hands with their beloved "Dad," leading him down the halls of their school showing him off to their classmates.
"It's been so long," said daughter Presley. "I really love him. We're so proud of what he does and proud of him too."
Filling their backpacks with the homework for the day, each of Smith's daughters were able to spend the rest of the day with him, helping him make the most of his 15 days back home.
When asked about what they look forward to doing with their father, none of the girls hesitated.
"Going fishing at the lake," they both replied.
The first item on the family agenda is a vacation. Smith and family leave next week to watch one of their favorite sports, car racing, at one of its biggest venues, the Indianapolis 500.