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Sailor suprises twin sons at Cocke County elementary

7:00 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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A little more than a year ago, Live at Five at Four introduced viewers to two twin boys, Jesse and Joseph Johnson.

We visited them at Centerview Elementary school in Cocke County, for a story on what it was like for one school to have eight sets of twins.

Jesse and Joseph shared their favorite animals (rattlesnakes), and food (cookies and candy).

But what we didn't know is that their dad, Matthew, was on his sixth deployment, this time to Afghanistan, while serving in the Navy. 

And today the boys got another visit from Channel 10 that came with a surprise.

On Friday the students thought they were preparing for a President's Day celebration, decorating the hallways with American flags and posters.

But it wasn't our country's forefathers Jesse and Joseph were waiting for.

"I just got off deployment from Germany," explained Petty Officer Matthew Johnson from the school's parking lot. "I'm excited, anxious, ready to see 'em."

Standing beside his wife and infant daughter, Johnson walked along the school's corridor to the sound of applause.

"Where are they?" he asked, scanning the crowd for familiar faces."I'm ready to see them."

Then Sailor Johnson ended his seventh deployment in the arms of his seven-year-old boys.

"I've missed quite a bit these past couple years," says Johnson.

But within minutes it was as though he had never left as the boys caught their dad up on recent movies and lost teeth.

The boys have a basic knowledge of why daddy has to go away, but it's left an impression.

"I want to be like daddy," says Jesse when asked what he wants to be when he grows up.

"No, nope," responds Johnson.

"I want to work with daddy," both boys elaborate.

"You want to work with daddy? Well, we'll see. You have to go to college first."

Because as happy as he is to be back, he knows what it feels like to leave.

"It's definitely hard but seeing the impact that we make on some of the people overseas, it makes it worth it," says Johnson.

He will spend the weekend with the boys in Gatlinburg before heading back to base in Virginia next week.

He says he expects to deploy for the eighth time this December.

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