Returning soldier poses as museum mannequin to surprise son

WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCIV) -- Sgt. Beau Adams returned from Afghanistan Monday night, and while some people knew about his homecoming, his son was kept in the dark until he arrived at the military museum at Citadel Mall on Tuesday afternoon.

But before that, Adams and his friend Jeff Uyak spent the day putting together care packages full of Christmas presents for soldiers still stationed in Afghanistan.

Adams is sending the gifts to those he left behind in the 251st Area Support Medical Company. He spent the last seven months in Afghanistan and knows what it's like to be far from home around the holidays.

"I was just thinking I could spread joy to those guys that couldn't come home with me today.{} Just wanted to do something for those guys to let them know we're thinking about them.{} I wish they were here with us," he said.

But the Army veteran from James Island isn't done with Christmas surprises. He also spent the day preparing for one big gift at the American Military Museum at Citadel Mall -- a surprise for his 4-year-old son, Bryce.

As his son rounded a corner, one of the mannequins stood out more than the rest. "Daddy!" young Bryce screamed.

It's Adams' first duty as he returns to civilian life: the role of father.

"Daddy's home," he said, sweeping the youngster up into his arms.

Family and friends used the museum as a backdrop for his unexpected visit. While he knew the possibility of returning to duty, Adams was confident he would come home safely.

"With blessings, I knew it was going to happen. I knew we were going to get there. So either way, as long as I'm in his arms or he's in my arms, it's all that matters," Adams said.

It was a plan that had been brewing for most of the year, said Adams' wife, Kellie.

"He was supposed to come home in March. And then the last month or so we were trying to put this together. One day it would happen, one day it wouldn't. So when he actually got that plane ride to come home, that's when I knew it was going to happen," she said.

And it made for an early Christmas present for a Lowcountry military family.

Adams donated the uniform from his last tour of duty in 2007. He has plans to donate this tour's uniform as well.