Underwater soldier-Santa surprises family at MOA

Author:
Updated:
Original:

It wasn't just any old Scuba Claus at the Mall of America Sea Life Aquarium Sunday afternoon. It was First Lt. Nick Aldrich, home from Afghanistan to surprise his four children.

DVIDS, a military news website, reports the kids, ages 7 months to 8, thought they were going to see Scuba Santa at the mall.

Aldrich came to the mall directly from the airport. Sea Life staff helped him into a wetsuit and Santa costume. He lowered himself into the tank to swim with the fishes and sharks. When the children were underneath watching, Aldrich held up a sign that said, “Hello from Scuba Claus,” on one side. On the other side it said, “And a special hello to Britta, Teagan, Jace, Solveij and Esmae! Hi! It’s Dad! I’m Home!”

Eight-year-old Teagan read the sign out loud, then told her siblings what was going on. The children met their dad on top of the tank for a big, wet hug. Aldrich got to hold the baby for the first time.

“It’s huge,” said Aldrich. “The entire time we’ve been gone, it’s all you think about. To be able to come back before Christmas to see my kids and my wife, it’s amazing.”

According to KSTP, Aldrich is with the 850th Horizontal Engineer Company of the Minnesota National Guard, also known as "The Renegades." They cleared mine fields, improved drainage, took down bases and built guard towers. Most of the soldiers are from the Cambridge area.

“They’re going to remember this their whole life,” said Aldrich. “They’ve also dedicated a lot of this year to service as well. I’ve been over there with the Army, but they’ve been here waiting for me and wanting me to be home."

“It was so special and such a blessing to be able to do this,” said Britta Aldrich. “It’s exciting enough to have him come home after being gone so long, but then to be able to do it in such a fun way was great. It’s everything that you would wish for to have your husband come home for Christmas.”

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Here are snow totals from Thursday-Friday winter storm

It's a slushy mess in the metro, but snow did pile up in southern counties.

tim walz

Walz fury after report that government's COVID vaccine reserve is nonexistent

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration has shipped out all the vaccines it has already, with none in reserve.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.

Sars-Cov-2

Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.

General Mills

General Mills halts donations to Republicans who voted to block Biden win

Two Minnesota representatives voted against certification of results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Related

Soldier surprises family at Vikings game

In the third quarter, the Vikings and the Minnesota National Guard helped Staff Sgt. Matthew Helget surprise his family in front of 50,000 fans. Helget has been stationed in Kuwait for six months.

Ho, Ho, Ho: Santa arrives at MOA two weeks before Thanksgiving

Santa Claus has returned to the Twin Cities early this year, two weeks before Black Friday. Fox 9 reports Santa officially arrived at the Mall of America on Thursday and will stay through Dec. 24.