Sergeant First Class Scott Faile speaks to his family on the video board at Wiliams-Brice Stadium. (Source: YouTube/Gamecocks online)
A reunited Faile family. (Source: YouTube/Gamecocks online)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Faile family from Kershaw, SC thought Saturday was going to be special when they were chosen as Columbia Metropolitan Airport's 'Military Family of the Game,' but they had no idea what was really in store for them.
"I kept sitting there thinking, 'How much longer are they going to make us stay out here?'" laughs Tammy.
Just after the family was escorted onto the Williams-Brice Stadium field just before the start of the game, a video on the big board played a message to them from their dad/husband, Sergeant First Class Scott Faile.
"Hey guys, I love you and I miss you," SFC Faile says in the video.
As Scott started speaking, his family's tears started flowing.
"As soon as I saw him, that was it," says Tammy. "That's all it took."
Faile, explained to the family how much he appreciates the sacrifices they make each day while he is in Korea. "I really would like to be there to watch the Gamecocks beat up on Georgia," said Faile. "Just keep in mind my tour is over soon."
The Failes believed Scott was still in Korea, nearing the end of his year-long tour.
What they didn't know was that Faile was already in the stadium.
But the video was all a part of a plan Scott had been putting together for three months.
"I thought if you're going to go to a game, why not let's really make it something special?" he says.
That's when Scott sent his family and the 85,000-plus in the stands into a frenzy, walking out of the tunnel to greet his overjoyed loved ones.
Tammy, Breanna, and Cameron sprinted to mug their father. Scott's wife jumped into his arms, "like a spider monkey," he laughs, as the crowd erupted.
"Right when I first saw him walk out, I was like, is that really him?" remembers 10 year old Cameron.
"I didn't think I was going to make it to the big group hug because some people like to try and trip others or pull them back," laughs Breanna, hinting at her mother. "I'm thinking this woman's going to trip me."
"It was amazing," says Tammy. "We were just ecstatic. In that moment, it was just us four again."
In just two days, a video of the reunion has gone viral on YouTube, hitting over 140,000 views.
It's something Scott says he never intended.
"No clue," he says about the attention he and his family has received. They say they've already been contacted by Good Morning America and Inside Edition among others.
"This was just supposed to be for them," Scott adds. "I'm not the type of person who wanted all this."
After the surprise of a lifetime and the whirlwind of emotion, the family says it's all worth it.
"We're complete now," smiles Tammy.
By the way, the Gamecocks would go on to rout Georgia, 35-7, just as Sgt. Faile predicted.
Monday, May 20 2013 9:39 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:39:04 GMT
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