Berks County military dad reunites with son after 11 months in a surprise moment at school pep rally

A local boy will never forget a reunion with his military dad for the first time in nearly a year. And, the best part – it was all a surprise.

One by one, the students at Owatin Creek Elementary got into place for their outdoor patriotic pep rally. The excitement felt with every wiggle. Flags, first responders and music everywhere one could see.

And, 6-year-old Caleb Landeck was an excited student, right with his peers, watching the rally unfold. Unbeknownst to Caleb, his dad, Sergeant First Class Michael Landeck, a 23-year veteran of the United States Army National Guard, was about to turn the corner and surprise Caleb. They hadn’t seen each other in 11 months.

"He had no idea I was coming home. Really. He knew I was in the states, but had no idea that I was coming home today," Sgt. Landeck said.

Landeck completed five tours in Bosnia and two tours in Iraq and Kuwait. He received a Meritorious Service medal during his most recent deployment. His wife, Samantha, and their neighbor came up with the plan to honor Michael at the school.

"He has done a lot for this country and I knew that this was it. So, it was either go big or go home," Samantha explained.

A truly emotional moment and not much was said during their long embrace.

"You never know how you are going to react, in that moment. There was a lot of different, mixed emotions, but happiness and excitement takes them all over," Samantha added.

11 months without dad is pretty tough, but this was Michael’s last tour. He is retiring from the military and plans to pursue a career in woodworking. Caleb and his younger brother, Emmett, can’t wait to get dad home.

"Tonight, they have been wanting to rough house and wrestle. That is what he has been saying to me the whole time," Landeck said.