As the United States remains mired in war and with so many troops so far away, the stress on their families, particularly children, can be enormous.
With April being the month of the military child, though, a couple of local kids got a huge surprise Thursday in the form of their dad being home from deployment.
For Christopher and Abigail Karnbach of St. Mary's County, that surprise came in the form of a Tae Kwon Do lesson. At a program put on by the Our Military Kids organization, the group needed a volunteer to demonstrate some moves.
That volunteer was their father.
"I was super surprised - 'Oh, my dad's here!'" Christopher said.
Petty Ofc. Christopher Karnbach spent close to a year stationed in Cuba and wasn't scheduled to return home for a few more weeks. The reunion totally caught his wife, Ann Marie, off guard.
"I couldn't believe he was actually standing there and it took me a minute to realize it was actually him," she said.
For this St. Mary's County family, it's a time to reconnect and continue life as normal, at least until the next deployment.
"It's a wonderful day when...you get to come home and see your kids," Karnbach said.
Our Military Kids has provided children of reservists, National Guard Troops and wounded soldiers with thousands of grants worth millions of dollars. The money goes toward classes and programs for the families of troops.