Emotional reunion as Dubuque Marine surprises sister - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Emotional reunion as Dubuque Marine surprises sister

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Lance Cpl. Alex Ahmann and his sister Emily Ahmann share an emotional hug Monday Lance Cpl. Alex Ahmann and his sister Emily Ahmann share an emotional hug Monday
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Marine Lance Corporal Alex Ahmann, from Dubuque, is home for Thanksgiving and surprised his sister Monday at Wahlert Catholic High School.

His sister Emily Ahmann is a sophomore there and didn't expect him home until 2012.

"I put a status on Facebook, saying I wouldn't be able to make it home until next year because of training and stuff like that," Lance Cpl. Ahmann said. "It was actually, like, a last-minute thing. I put my paperwork in on Thursday, Friday morning they told me I was good to go and hopped in the truck and I was out."

The 20-year-old and 2009 graduate of Dubuque Senior High School, deployed to Afghanistan in March from his base in California and returned there in October.

For other family members, who showed up at Wahlert to watch the surprise, this was their first time seeing Ahmann since his last trip to Dubuque in February.

"It's good to see you guys, too," Ahmann said, to an emotional grandmother and grandfather.

Finally, Emily got a page to the office, expecting only to see her mother. As she approached the office, Lance Cpl. Ahmann announced on a bullhorn he'd brought with him, "Emily Ahmann, please report to the front desk... like, stat."

With an audible gasp, Emily dropped her backpack and ran the rest of the hallway to find the brother she knew was attached to that voice.

In an emotional embrace, the two siblings reunited. Their mother Malinda Ahmann said the two are as close as they've ever been.

"I think Alex being deployed to Afghanistan, also the reality of what could've happened with the war situation, really got ahold of Emily," their mother said, "and she made sure that she stayed in touch with her brother the entire time that he was deployed."

The two are the only siblings.

Emily and Malinda Ahmann traveled to California in October, when Lance Cpl. Ahmann returned from overseas. Beyond that, however, Emily was in the dark.

"I didn't know when I was going to see him, because he was like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm probably not going to come back until next year,'" she said Monday, wiping tears off her cheeks.

Now, this unexpectedly reunited family will enjoy time together.

"Eat some food, watch some football," Ahmann said, describing his all-American Thanksgiving.

He'll be home for two weeks before returning to his base in California.

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