Last Saturday, the Texas A&M Aggies played against the Arkansas Razorback at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
What was supposed to be just another college game, turned out to be one of our American soldiers surprising their loved one with their homecoming.
Mom, Mary Russell and her husband David attended the game in Arlington and later was asked onto the field to honor her son.
Mary was accompanied by two of TAMU’s yell leaders, some Razorback cheerleaders and an inflatable Boss Hog mascot while they showed the attending crowd her son’s pictures and honoring his great achievements in the U.S. Air Force. One picture showed Channing holding a flag in honor of where he was from.
After they showed the crowd his pictures of him, her 21- year old son Channing Caudill came out of the Boss Hog mascot to surprise mom.
As Channing smiled, Mom cried with tears of joy saying, “I was just totally overwhelmed. For a mom to go six months without seeing her child, no matter how old they are, they’re always your baby. I was so thrilled to be able to hug my son. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The surprise was actually delayed by one week and was supposed to have taken place on September 17 for Military appreciation night.
They had a plot to get mom to that game too, but since it fell through, they needed another scheme to get Mary to the game.
The officials for Arkansas reached out to Mary and David and told them that they had received the flag that Channing flew with and they told mom that they wanted to recognize him during the game.
That was enough for her mom because they Russells flew out from Arkansas to Arlington to attend that night’s game.
“I never imagined that he could have pulled something to that extreme off, Mary said.” “Or that the university would have cared enough about a kid from Wickes, Arkansas, to help him pull off a surprise like that.”
“Beforehand I wasn’t nervous at all, but as we started to walk out on the field I got a little bit nervous,” Channing said. “They sowed a picture of my flag up above and I could hear the crowd start clapping, and it got pretty loud. Then when I came out of the suit, it almost started shaking a little bit because both sides – the Texas A&M and Arkansas sides – got so loud.”
“My mom didn’t even see me for a second when I came out of the suit. Then I said, ‘Hey,’ and she turned around and saw me. It was pretty exciting. There was a lot of energy and nerves.”
He was in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq and Channing spent that past six months working with NATO forces in B-52s.
Channing said that he might make the Air Force a career, but that he wants to take online college course and might even study sports medicine, sports management or coaching.
“He loves sports and loves the Razorbacks,” Mary said. “He listens to podcasts about them every day. That’s what kept him going when he was overseas. He wanted to give them the flag as a way to say thank you.”
Awesome moment welcoming home Channing Caudill!
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