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Military Dad Surprises His Son At Taekwondo Class After Being Deployed For A Year

Anyone who comes from a military family is well-acquainted with the enormity of sacrifice and strength it takes to keep going while your loved ones put their lives on the line. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so heart-warming to witness soldiers and their families reuniting after deployment.

Recently, a nine-year-old got the surprise of his life when his army dad showed up at Taekwondo class and the video will tug at your heartstrings.

Army Staff Sergeant Rob Cesternino has been deployed in the Middle East since May of last year.

Cesternino was serving with the Tennessee National Guard in Jordan Southern Syria.

The father of six told WSMV he talked to his youngest child, nine-year-old Luca, every two weeks while overseas and he missed his family terribly. So when he was given the opportunity to come home early, Rob lept at the chance.

On Monday, Rob sneakily made his way into his son Luca’s Taekwondo class. Luca was told he would be sparring with three separate instructors while blindfolded.


After battling the first two instructors, Luca prepared himself for the third when Rob stepped in and began sparring with him. He shouted words of encouragement to his son, calling him by his nickname and ultimately giving away his identity.

Recognizing his father’s voice, Luca ripped off his gloves and blindfold and rushed to embrace him. The emotional moment has us reaching for tissues.

Military dad surprises son at tae kwon do lesson TN

Tearjerker Alert! A dad who has been serving in the Tennessee National Guard in Jordan and Syria for 10 months surprises his son during a tae kwon do lesson. The child was overcome with emotion.

Posted by KULR8 News on Tuesday, March 19, 2019

WSMV sat down with the father and son after their match and asked Luca how he felt when he realized his dad was home.


“I felt joy in my heart,” Luca said. “I will never leave his side.”

With his arms wrapped around Luca, Rob said military families deserve more acknowledgment.


“We don’t give enough thought to how tough it is on the family we leave behind. I don’t think there’s any soldier, without the support of their family, that could get the mission done.”

h/t Today


Written by Emily Burns

Writer and editorial specialist based out of Austin, TX.