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MN Soldier Returns From Afghanistan, Surprises Kids As Scuba Santa

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Four siblings got the surprise of their lives Sunday when their father returned home from serving in Afghanistan.

The soldier, 1st Lt. Nick Aldrich of Glencoe, serves with the Minnesota Army National Guard's Cambridge-based 850th Engineering Company. His 150-person unit was responsible for clearing roads of improvised explosive devices.

Nick Aldrich was gone for 11 months and had never even seen his youngest child who was born while he was overseas.

"The entire time you are gone, they are all you think of," Nick Aldrich said.

With help from his fellow soldiers and the Mall of America "Sea Life" Aquarium, Aldrich was able to dress up like Santa Claus and scuba dive into an aquarium where his children and wife, Britta, were watching.

"It is so special to have him home and do this in such a fun way," Britta Aldrich said.

Nick Aldrich caught his children by surprise, waving a sign inside the aquarium that explained he was their dad, not the real Santa.

After the underwater surprise the children met up with their father and reunited with gifts and many hugs and tears.

The family plans to spend plenty of quality time together now that dad is home for good.


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