LITTLE ROCK, Ark – An Arkansas army dad returns home earlier than expected after nearly a year away overseas. His first stop was to visit his youngest daughter at her school. 

For 7-year-old Kaylin Martinous she thought she was doing an interview about the toll military families go through during the holiday times but to her surprise she would be leaving school with a big smile on her face and her dad, Carl Martinous on her arm.  

Martinous says she misses her father so much and she goes on to say her favorite memory of him was “the last time I got to see him, we hugged each other goodbye.”

She goes to St. Theresa Catholic School in Little Rock and little did she know her dad was a lot closer than expected. With the help of the school Carl Martinous said he got to surprise his daughter.

“It’s amazing, just being able to hold your child you know it’s the craziest thing and most important thing in the world,” Martinous said. 

Martinous said he has served in the Army for over a decade but was deployed to Iraq in January. 

“I was expecting mid-December so when they said we were going to leave a little sooner then that I was ecstatic because I have been gone since January 27th,” Martinous said. 

Kaylin said she was happy to see her dad again and “felt shock” when he surprised her in her classroom.  

 Martinous said he is happy to be by his daughter’s side again and is happy to be back home. 

“Family makes you rich, that’s the richest thing in the world if you have family you’re golden. 

He says he is here to stay and also got to surprise his oldest daughter and the baseball team he coaches for.