The most touching surprise soldier homecomings of 2016

You may have gotten a new sweater or set of golf clubs this holiday. But for some families and friends, their military loved ones returning home was the greatest gift they could get in 2016.

From surprise appearances at college basketball games to cuddling with furry friends who couldn't wait to see them, these military members were welcomed home with open arms and paws.

Mother of soldier jumps for joy after son's surprise homecoming

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This mom was not expecting to see her son for another month. But as she was walking near her place of work, she spotted a familiar face.

Larry Sterns serves in the 101st Airborne Division of the Army at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He wrote on YouTube that he told his mom, Denise, that he would have time off at the end of July, but that was not the case. He actually came home a month earlier, and surprised his mom with this nonchalant appearance.

Soldier surprise at Texans game has people talking

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Military surprise has a lot of people talking online

Army Specialist Robert Hadden surprised his wife, Samantha, and son, Brexton, at the Houston Texans game against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars in December. When Samantha realized her husband would be home for Christmas, she rushed to give her husband a huge hug.

Soldier reunites with elderly dog after basic training

Army Pvt. Hannah Foraker received an ecstatic welcome home from her golden retriever Buddy after three months away at basic training. Foraker had never been away from the golden retriever up until enlisting, which made it especially warming to see her reaction.

Airplane captain surprises son with flight back from deployment

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Father surprises son on redeployment. (Credit: Mario J. Lopes/YouTube)

Capt. Mario Lopes, a Washington D.C.-based pilot with United Airlines, learned that his son, First Lt. Mario Lopes, was scheduled to return from Kuwait on April 14. When Lopes learned that there was an opportunity to pilot a military flight to Norfolk, Virginia, on the same day, he knew he had to seize it.

Army lieutenant surprises brother with homecoming at Notre Dame basketball game

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A homecoming soldier surprised his brother on the basketball court.

Notre Dame basketball player and New Jersey native Matt Farrell thought he was watching a video message from his brother in Afghanistan. But what he didn't know was Lt. Bo Farrell was much closer ... hiding in the team's locker room.

He came out onto the court after the game and surprised his brother and their parents, who had no idea he was home for the holidays.
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