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OpHo On Ice
Eunah Hicks sees her husband, Staff Sgt. Dwight Hicks, 479th Flying Training Group aviation resource manager, during the first intermission at Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Fla., Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first time she saw her husband since he left for Afghanistan in April 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jeff Parkinson)
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Operation Homecoming on Ice

Posted 11/10/2013   Updated 11/10/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Jeff Parkinson
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

11/10/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Staff Sgt. Dwight Hicks, 479th Flying Training Group aviation resource manager, surprised his family with a homecoming during the Pensacola Ice Flyers military appreciation night Nov. 9 in Pensacola, Fla.

Col. Thomas Shank, 479th FTG commander, was not only able to participate in the ceremonial puck drop, but he was also a behind-the-scenes contributor for the surprise.

"[A few] of the things that are important in my life are my family and my faith," Shank said. "And, the fact that I get to celebrate one of those tonight, [with] one of my 'Raider' families, to see the smiles that's going to be on the faces of Hicks' family as he takes off the goalie outfit and see that it's him there protecting the goal, that's going to be priceless."

Hicks has been stationed at Pensacola Naval Air Station for two years and has been deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, since April 2013.

"This is the first time I've been away from my wife and kids for this amount of time," said Hicks before the show. "I just want to give them a surprise; I know it will make them happy."

Hicks' wife, Eunah, and their two children, Caley and Dwight Jr., were "randomly" selected to try and net a hockey puck during the first intermission.

Although Eunah missed all three attempts, she still left the game a winner.

Upon missing her last shot, Hicks skated toward his family. As he approached them, he took of his goalie mask and revealed his true identity.

"I was emotional," Eunah said. "I was happy, shocked, overwhelmed; it was everything at me all at once."

Hicks said he did this not only to surprise his family, but also to impact others.

"I hope everyone who witnessed tonight leaves with a sense of togetherness, family, and a sense of pride in their country," he said. "Men and women just like me go over there every day serving our country, and we do it because we love our nation."

11/20/2013 1:52:17 PM ET
SSgt HicksWelcome home. Glad to see a fellow Crow reunited with his family. Nice trick. Enjoy your RR.
Capt O'Brien, Laughlin AFB TX
11/11/2013 8:13:39 AM ET
Sgt Juarez, Deployed SW Asia
11/10/2013 10:21:55 PM ET
We are from Ontario Canada and have attended several Ice Flyers games over the past few years. Know that there are always activities during intermission is no surprise but this won...brought tears of joy and thankfulness to my eyes. You see these things on TV or the internet but to witness it first hand was such an experience of love and gratitude to all that serve for your great country. Thank you one and all.
Bev, Pensacola
11/10/2013 9:07:10 AM ET
I am very proud of you You are an incredible son and father. You have represented your family and country well and we all love you. Dwight Hicks
Dwight Hicks, Atlanta Georgia
11/10/2013 3:34:52 AM ET
Thanks 1st SOW PA for helping with such a great event
Brian Wagner, Afghanistan
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