Sailor comes home and surprises 6-year-old nephew at Samuel S. Gaines Academy in Fort Pierce

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A sailor's surprise made a little boy's day on the Treasure Coast.

Navy Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Josh Shepherd came home to Fort Pierce on Friday for some rest and relaxation. His nephew, Hunter, 6, had no idea he was coming home, nor did he realize he was in for a big surprise at school.

Hunter stretched his arms wide to show how much he missed his Uncle Josh.

"He's always asking, 'When's he coming home? When's he coming home?'" said Hunter's grandma, Susan Shepherd.

Friday, the question was answered when Josh made a surprise appearance in Hunter's first grade class at Samuel S. Gaines Academy in Fort Pierce, dressed in his white sailor uniform.

"I miss you very much," Hunter said, as he hugged Josh, 26. 

"I miss you too, buddy," Josh replied, hugging Hunter back.

Along with his classmates, Hunter was thrilled to enjoy the start of Memorial Day weekend with his uncle.

Hunter said it felt "great" to have Josh back home.

 "It's amazing," Josh said. "It's been so long since I've been able to see him."

The sailor, who is stationed in San Diego, has been busy running the engine room on the USS Carl Vinson.

Josh brought pictures of his ship to show Hunter and his classmates.

In the past year, Josh has traveled to Australia, Dubai and Hong Kong with the Navy.

"Being part of something bigger than yourself - it's a pretty good feeling," he said.

But hugging his nephew is a pretty good feeling too, and he can't think of a better place to be right now than home.

Josh will be home for two weeks of rest and relaxation. He says he's looking forward to four wheeling and fishing with Hunter.

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