Video: Military father surprises daughter at graduation

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The cardboard cutout of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Chris Crafton looked pretty good – a big smiling face and twinkling eyes beneath his military haircut; fingers pointed straight at you like he's glad you're here. And since Sgt. Crafton was in Cuba, the cutout sat in a seat at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, for his daughter Taylor's graduation ceremony from Grand Forks Central High School.

It did look pretty good – but it couldn't compare to the real Chris Crafton. You could tell by Taylor's reaction when her father surprised her on stage Sunday, caught on video by KHON 2 (and which can be watched above).

Neither Taylor nor her mother (Chris' wife) Paige knew he would be back for the ceremony, the station reports. So when Taylor went on stage to receive her diploma, and was told over the microphone, "He's here," it was all smiles, tears and cheers.

According to KHON, Chris has been in Cuba for the past few months; it's his ninth deployment since Taylor was 3 months old.

Having him make it back north, for this special day? Said Taylor, simply:

Or as she wrote on Instagram, "ABSOLUTE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE!"

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Earlier this year, Minnesota Staff Sgt. William Dullea returned home from Afghanistan after nearly a year of deployment to meet his newborn son, Jameson. After the airport greeting, Dullea surprised his 5-year-old daughter, Savannah, at school, FOX 9 says. Savannah, wearing red, white and blue ribbons in her hair, ran and jumped into her father’s arms when she saw him.

And in March, the Wild helped facilitate a soldier's homecoming. Nicholas Jenn, of Crystal,was deployed on his third tour to Kuwait, but obtained leave back to the state to be with an ailing grandmother. While there, he also surprised his wife Jaimie on her birthday by arranging a reunion in front of a hometown hockey crowd of 18,650 at Xcel Energy Center.

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