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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – An Army soldier is back home in North Texas for good, and just in time for the holiday season and a big surprise.

Master Sergeant Frank Johnson just got back to the states Thursday and he’s first order of business was to stop by his son’s high school for an emotional surprise.

The freshly retired soldier had been waiting for the moment for nearly three years. He says his new mission in life is to change the pattern of the past and be present for his family.

“My daughter graduated from different grades…I wasn’t there for it. My fiancée graduated with a doctors degree…I wasn’t there for it. Those are once in a lifetime things and I’ll never get that chance again.”

Now Johnson has vowed to never miss another family moment.

“I’ve been in and out of their life their whole lives, and now I actually get to be in their life,” he said happily.

When the elder Johnson went to the school his son, Frank Jr., had no clue about what was waiting for him inside the school cafeteria.

Then it was finally time. Frank Sr. popped out and said, “How you doing son? Look at you. You’re tall!”

It was a reunion between father and son that was long overdue. Frank Jr. didn’t say much, but the smile on his face told enough. It’s a homecoming surprise the young man won’t ever forget.

The proud father said his intent, henceforth, is clear. “Make him a good pillar to society. That’s my goal.”

There’s a fresh start for the father who knows the call of duty to family is just as important as the one to country.

Another family milestone will be reached next week. Frank Sr. said Thursday will the first Thanksgiving in three years that he’ll be sharing a meal with his children.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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