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Surprise homecoming just in time for trick-and-treating

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, October 31, 2014

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A proud and happy Milani, 4, welcomes her mother home.
 
 

Julie McCombs

A proud and happy Milani, 4, welcomes her mother home.

 

 



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Milani proudly puts on her mother's military cap.
 

Julie McCombs

Milani proudly puts on her mother's military cap.

 



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Milani has her first look at her mother after Gunnery Sgt. Jacqueline Samuel spent nearly a year outside the U.S.
 

Julie McCombs

Milani has her first look at her mother after Gunnery Sgt. Jacqueline Samuel spent nearly a year outside the U.S.

 



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The grandparents, Gus (black shirt) and Rebecca (sweater) Samuel, joined Jacqueline's homecoming at her daughter's schools.
 

Julie McCombs

The grandparents, Gus (black shirt) and Rebecca (sweater) Samuel, joined Jacqueline's homecoming at her daughter's schools.

 



A hug Gunnery Sgt. Jacqueline Samuel received Friday was “like heaven,” she said.

Bree, 6, and Milani, 4, were surprised beyond belief when Samuel met up with her daughters for the first time since last December. Bree ran to her mother and wrapped her arms around Jacqueline. Milani was a little more tentative, unsure if what she was seeing was real or imagined.

Jacqueline is serving aboard the Little Creek, Va.-based USS Gunston Hall, an amphibious dock landing ship, as a member of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Just minutes before Jacqueline walked into the classroom at the Dunbar Development Center, Milani had told her classmates her mother was on a boat and was a paratrooper. Bree’s school, Woodland Elementary, was the first stop on Jacqueline’s homecoming.

“I was talking with my friends and they said turn around. Then I saw her, ran and hugged her,” Bree said with a wide smile.

The deployment oversees was the third for Jacqueline. “I’ve missed a lot of first steps and a lot of first words with my girls,” she said. “It’s all part of service and sacrifice to our country.”

Asked what is ahead until Jacqueline’s return to Camp Lejeune, N.C., Monday, she said, “Whatever the girls want to do.”

“All that the girls knew was that their mother would be home in time to take them trick-or-treating,” Denise Barbare said.

“I try not to put too much expectation on homecomings,” Jacqueline said. “I am happy to be home with my girls.”

 

 

 

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