SPRING VALLEY, Minn. -- From Spider-Man to Captain America, 3-year-old Michael Kohn has quite a few favorite superheroes. But Wednesday morning, he got to see his real-life hero for the first time since February.
Michael's dad, Gabe, serves in the 8th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force. The Minnesota native left the country for this deployment in South Korea on February 5.
On Tuesday, Gabe returned home to surprise his wife, Frankie. And on Wednesday morning, Gabe went to Kingsland Elementary in Spring Valley, Minnesota to surprise his son during recess.
Gabe hid behind playground equipment as his son, Michael, came out to play. Gabe then walked up to his son and called his name. After being stunned for a few seconds, Michael said enthusiastically, "You came back! You came back for me!"
The father and son embraced several times during the reunion, each time saying how much they missed each other.
Gabe is now making the most of his time with his wife and two kids before he returns to South Korea in early November.
"[What I missed most about my family was] just being with them. I think waking up in the morning and seeing them, and seeing them when I come home from work and stuff like that," Gabe said. "You know, I come home to an empty dorm room now, so it's nice to be able to come home to my kids and my wife."
Gabe said he's glad to serve in the military, but being more than 6,000 miles away from his family can be tough.
"It's stressful. It's hard to not be there, especially if [my wife's] going through some things or if she's upset. All I can do is talk to her on the phone, and most of the time, I can't even do that with the time difference. So it's hard," Gabe said.
Despite their time apart, the family is not letting it get in the way of their time together.
"Lots of mixed emotions: happy and excited," said Frankie of her husband's return home.
Although Gabe will go back to South Korea in November, he expects to come home again either late February or early March of next year.
Information from KTTC (NBC) Rochester, MN