UIW graduate surprised by husband's early return from 13-month military deployment

SAN ANTONIO – A graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word received an emotional surprise Saturday as she crossed the stage and was greeted by her husband, who returned from his 13-month deployment.

Heather Jo McNeil received her Bachelor of Science from UIW's School of Professional Studies. As she crossed the stage, her husband, Air Force Master Sgt. Nathan McNeil, appeared with a bouquet of flowers for his wife.

Heather Jo McNeil was overcome with joy as she was reunited with her husband, and her five kids with their father.

"I was expecting to go Monday at 5 o'clock and get him from the airport, so it kind of felt unreal to see him at the end of the stage," Heather Jo McNeil said.

Nathan McNeil said he hates having to lie to his wife and thought, with as clever as she is, she would surely find out about his early return, but the plan went off without a hitch.