Military family reunites during Memorial Day Braves game

Turner Field already felt emotionally charged and patriotic for Memorial Day, but Master Sgt. David Sims managed to make some 42,000 people audibly gasp with a collective “ohhhh.”

He and the Braves surprised his wife and four children with an on-field reunion during the Braves-Cardinals game, coming home a week early from his six-month deployment with the Air Force in Afghanistan.

Sims’s 24-hour journey from Kabul through Kurdistan, Germany, Ireland, and Baltimore ended along the first base line at Turner Field, shortly after he first spoke to his family in a video message taped from Afghanistan and broadcast from the Turner Field jumbotron.

“I love you so much, I miss you, I hope you’re having fun watching the Atlanta Braves,” Sims said in the video. “I can’t wait to be with you again. In fact, wait one minute.”

Master Sgt. David Sims reunites with wife Robin and kids at Turner Field Associated Press

Master Sgt. David Sims reunites with wife Robin and kids at Turner Field Associated Press

Then he popped out from the far end of the Braves dugout onto the field, where his children ages 10-13, turned, looked, pointed and then sprinted to him, with his wife Robin trailing in flip-flops. They mobbed him with a group hug.

Sims exchanged smiles, tears, “I love you’s” and an extended, emotional bear hug with his wife, after she first gave him a playful punch in the chest.

“I had a suspicion, but he still surprised me in the end,” Robin Sims said afterward. “I thought he would be here. I watch one too many television shows and one of my favorite ones is ‘Coming Home.’ And last time he deployed he came home in a Christmas box, so it’s not past him to surprise me.”

When Sims came home from a 2009 deployment in Southeast Asia, he had friends pick him up at the airport and deliver him home in a giant box in the back of a pickup truck. This time the Braves set up the surprise as a part of their weekly “hometown heros” celebration.

The Sims family watched the rest of the game from the owner’s box beside the Braves dugout. Afterward, on their way home to Centerville, where Sims is stationed at nearby Robins Air force base, they planned to stop for a bite.

“I’ve got to stop and get some American food,” Sims said. “A greasy burger would be good.”

74 comments Add your comment

Patrick

May 28th, 2012
5:54 pm

Fir—- nah, forget it. He’s first, since he and all the other men and women put their lives on the line every day defending our country so we can have baseball games. God bless you sir.

Maria

May 28th, 2012
6:04 pm

Even if the Braves would have won—this was, for sure, the HIGHLIGHT of the DAY.

kelly

May 28th, 2012
6:10 pm

Just so amazing.
Bless all the troops and bring em’ home safe.
GO BRAVES!!!
MK

Supes

May 28th, 2012
6:15 pm

Very sweet, something good DID come out of Turner Field today…and it wasn’t related to sports or the Braves.

Art

May 28th, 2012
6:18 pm

@Patrick, classy move!!!

second suprise loses it's effect

May 28th, 2012
6:19 pm

twice? are you kidding me? dude..it has it effect only for the first time..damn..move on.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

May 28th, 2012
6:19 pm

That was incredible. Just a great, great thing. ALWAYS enjoy watching these reunions, and ALWAYS get teary-eyed/goose-bumped!…:)

Traffic Headache

May 28th, 2012
6:21 pm

The definition of the word “awesome.” Good job, Braves, and good job, Sgt. Sims.

GTFan

May 28th, 2012
6:23 pm

Awesome moment! So happy for them!! Thanks to the Braves and others who made this happen.

Quack Quack

May 28th, 2012
6:25 pm

Good job BRAVES setting this up. It’s the best thing you’ve done in the last eight days. ;-(

GO BRAVES!!

Pray for HEALTH!!

Gatorbite67

May 28th, 2012
6:26 pm

We were at the game and it was PHENOMENAL to watch this happen. Tears of joy for them were falling down my face. It was an awesome treat to be a part of something so special!

clearly you're not a true American

May 28th, 2012
6:31 pm

@second surprise…why don’t you get on a plane to Afghanistan? Clearly you don’t support our troops and think today is for a barbecue. It’s not…take it from one whose brother made the ultimate sacrifice for you to even be in this country!

NKH

May 28th, 2012
6:39 pm

We were at the game, and that moment was totally worth the price and the trip (even if the game itself was lousy). Few dry eyes in the Ted after that.

rusty

May 28th, 2012
6:39 pm

To all of the yahoos who want to complain about the Braves and what they are doing wrong, remember things like this and then calm down. There are more important things going on than sports.

Kim

May 28th, 2012
6:48 pm

That was wonderful! I was watching from home, and it was really touching. I’m the daughter of a career military man, and I remember many times where my father was overseas for long periods of time. It’s very tough on the person deployed, of course, but the family left at home has it just as tough – just in a different way.

I’m proud of the Braves for hosting such a wonderful reunion. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us. Go Braves!

bug

May 28th, 2012
6:56 pm

Sports makes more headlines that jobs, food and a roof over your heads,,,,WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

Cards & Braves Fan

May 28th, 2012
6:57 pm

We’re season ticket holders and being there today, it was the highlight of the day. Watching the big screen with Sgt. Sims you kinda got a feeling that it was going to happen. Happy for the Sims family and hope other military homecomings for all the rest of the families with loved ones deployed all over the world. It was cool to see both dugouts up on the rail, applauding during the reunion. Classy move Atlanta Braves and MLB!

Southern Belle

May 28th, 2012
7:01 pm

It was a privilege to witness this reunion at Turner Field today. When they brought the family out to recognize them, we were all hoping that Master Sgt. Sims was going to surprise them by appearing in person. It was especially poignant for me, as my son leaves for Parris Island and Marine Corps Boot Camp seven weeks from today. I didn’t bring enough Kleenex to the game.

bfour

May 28th, 2012
7:16 pm

@ second surprise: this man has earned the right to come home to his family any way he wants. Second surprise is probably one of those that Chipper has mentioned: 35 years old, lives with mom, uses mom’s computer, and can’t stand to see others be happy. Anyone with a heart and a pulse would feel happiness and joy for that family (as so many writers have indicated), not look for something to complain about.

Kat

May 28th, 2012
7:55 pm

Amazing moment. I was at the game and wasn’t expecting that all… tears of happiness. Hooray for the Sims family; your father is a true hero!

Stan

May 28th, 2012
7:56 pm

Wonderful climax to a great day of military recognition and tribute. Those kids sprinted for their dad. Hats off to Braves organization for the gesture to the Sims family and for sharing it with us. Thanks to all who sacrifice for the USA. You are the true heroes.

Braveschipper

May 28th, 2012
7:59 pm

Instead of glorifying this moment, people should demand all their troops to come home! All these wars are pointless ..

richbrave

May 28th, 2012
8:06 pm

DOWN ON THE FARM

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE kicks off June 2, 2012.

ROME

R-BRAVES drop a 4-6 decision to KANNAPOLIS. Pin-the-tail on the relief pitching.

RHSP GREG ROSS pitches well enough to win. 6.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.

RHRP ERNESTO SILVA [BS 1, 6.47 ERA] 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.

Lead-off SS ELMER REYES [.251 BA] 2-4.

2B SERGIO MIRANDA [.222 BA] 1-4, 2 RBI [4], 1 SO, 1 SAC.

LF ROBBY HEFFLINGER [.500 BA] 1-2, 1 R, 1 2B [1], 2 BB, 1 SO. ROBBY has been moved back to ROME once again. He’s struggling at the plate in high A.

3B BRANDON DRURY [.173 BA] 1-4, 2 R, 1 2B [9], 1 RBI [14], 1 SO, 1 E [3, throwing].

C CORY BROWNSTEN [.153 BA] 2-4, 1 RBI [8].

CF TONY MUELLER [.224 BA] 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 CS [2], 1 Put Out [1st base], 1 E [1, fielding].

dgfresh1

May 28th, 2012
8:32 pm

It’s a setup just like all reality TV is. She even said she knew it was happening. Exactly Braveschipper, enough of these senseless wars we have NO business fighting!

Game Changer

May 28th, 2012
8:38 pm

@MarkBradley article

Pitching, how about the whole damn team:

Uggla, Francisco, Heyward strike out 25% of the time batting, Freeman is close by at 20% and up. 6Ks in 12 at bats by the 3,4,5 hitter, it is not just pitching.
Heyward may not be a big league starter
Francisco is not a big league starter
Uggla must be the managers boyfriend because he sucks at fielding and K’s over 25% of the time
Freeman, is a big league player but may not be on a team to raise his talent level

Atlanta braves do not have a right or left field that is major league quality in fielding, at least Diaz battles at the plate and for that I appreciate his fight

Big question whether McCann is done as a top hitter and catcher, should have been moved to first years ago. Time to trade McCann and get some good players before it is to late. Need to trade Heyward, Diaz, Uggla and fire Francisco, Henski.

We have three starters, Tim Hutson, Medlin, Beachy – that is all we have – two are damaged and one fighting to teach himself MLB PITCHING because the Braves have no pitching coaches at triple a or majors worth a sht. Over manager is bad, the team has taken on his demeanor of lackadazical play and effort. Billy Martin would have run out of the dugout to right field and beat Heyward a&& when he loafed on that single he turned into a double.

Frank Wren: instead of styling your hair for tv shots, you better get some Major League players on the Atlanta Braves.

[...] know this has been done before but it still brought tears to my eyes. Military family reunites during Memorial Day Braves game | Atlanta Braves __________________ Richard 04 XT…. [...]

Game Changer

May 28th, 2012
9:06 pm

I suggest to several of Braves management to send McCann to winter ball and to train at first base so that his career could be long and his bat useful to any team for a long time. I was told no way that it was going to happen and McCann was fine. McCann is a fantastic hitter when healthy and strong but is not what one would call a athlete. Last chance

Game Changer

May 28th, 2012
9:06 pm

I suggest to several of Braves management to send McCann to winter ball and to train at first base so that his career could be long and his bat useful to any team for a long time. I was told no way that it was going to happen and McCann was fine. McCann is a fantastic hitter when healthy and strong but is not what one would call a athlete. Last chance

dawg4u

May 28th, 2012
9:15 pm

This story trumps anything the Braves could have done winning or losing. This is just a great story and am so happy for the reunion with wife and family. And on Memorial day to boot!

Who knows

May 28th, 2012
9:29 pm

Great story especially on this day. Didn’t understand tho why Sims was waiting to get some American food on the way home. He was in a ballpark full of it all afternoon. The family was in the owners box so you’d think food would be readily available.

Da Mick

May 28th, 2012
10:20 pm

I was thinking the same thing — the owner’s box is nice (does an owner ever sit there anymore? Just wondering) but couldn’t you get the guy some of that greazy American food right there in the stadium? Jeeesh..

AFSOC 1st Sgt

May 28th, 2012
10:23 pm

No comments from me about the game today – there’ll be other games on which we can comment. Also, no comments on politics or foreign policy – we can start that back up tomorrow. Today I just say welcome home MSgt Sims, and welcome home to all my Brothers and Sisters who come home from service in defense of this nation. But especially today, thank you to all who did not come home from these and all previous wars.

Tom Persuschevesky

May 29th, 2012
12:01 am

Brickhead OKelly

May 29th, 2012
12:15 am

The look on those kids and his wife’s face made my day! Who cares about a stupid baseball game after you saw that :)

Th@ f@ black chick

May 29th, 2012
12:55 am

I know it’s been said already, but Patrick, you rock!!! GR8 story!!! I admit I haven’t even read it yet, but the photo, I’m saving!!!!!!!! I LOVE the photo–it says it all!!! With the title of course! I just wish the photo was (or is it were?) bigger!!! Also, I hopw someone in the AP will frame the photo for them, but I’m sure that’s already been handled–AP or Braves, I mean, like any other gift to this family could trump the gift from God, for their soldier coming home safe. Makes me remember that their are LIVES that are more than just “another soldier died/came home today,” hope that doesn’t come off poorly via text–but I mean, the photo says a thousand words–and illustrates just how valuable ALL of the lives that Memorial Day celebrates, are worth, to those who’s lives that they were and ARE still in. Thank you to them, and thank you to the families for your sacrifices to freedom not just in my GR8 country, but werever else in the world, like South Korea, these Memorial Day heroes and heroins have died to help liberate! THANKS, words are all I have today, hope to give tangibly one day. LOVE, HUGS, and KISSES to the families of our GR8 nation’s fallen heroes!

[...] dropped eight straight games. – There was a great moment yesterday before the game when a family was reunited with their father, who had been serving in Afghanistan. – The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is [...]

American

May 29th, 2012
6:21 am

WELCOME HOME! I pray GOD Bless this family and ALL Military Family and I pray that they all be safe so that they may come back HOME….God Bless America!!!! Peace

ToeMeetsLeather

May 29th, 2012
6:33 am

Welcome home and THANK you for your service Mr Sims.

By the way, can you play third base and /or hit a curve ball?

Proud Mom

May 29th, 2012
8:17 am

Wish I’d seen this moment! Welcome home!

DePort

May 29th, 2012
9:45 am

Yeah … there are people like “Second Suprise” all over this country…. I hear it all the time.. its like they are jealous they could never cut it in the military so they cut down any happy story the military has to offer.

Bernee

May 29th, 2012
10:00 am

I was at the game. The whole day was filled with ceremony for our military. When these men and women took the field, covering it with the American Flag, we were on our feet cheering with clapping and tears. A 21 gun salute and taps were only surpassed by our 2 fighter jets flying over the stadium. Of course, seeing the Sims family reunited was the icing on the cake. What a great day!

Morning Reads for Tuesday, May 29th

May 29th, 2012
10:19 am

[...] dropped eight straight games. – There was a great moment yesterday before the game when a family was reunited with their father, who had been serving in Afghanistan. – The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is approaching. [...]

The talking monkey

May 29th, 2012
10:35 am

Why is it that the majority of soldiers I meet are complete douche bags? I will only commemorate those troops who aren’t complete douches. Not all of them.

The talking monkey

May 29th, 2012
10:45 am

Why do I have to support douche bags who want to pick fights with people when thy come back for no good reason? Granted not all of the troops are like this. I support the damn troops but I support them in the sense that I want them to come home and stop these meaningless wars that only profit the elite bankers that run the show. Until you open your eyes to this sheeple of America we are all doomed to repeat it.

The talking monkey

May 29th, 2012
10:47 am

Classy move with the stealing my name by the way I guess we are talking monkeys in a sense so you aren’t misrepresenting yourself.

Ken Stallings

May 29th, 2012
11:04 am

You can never see stuff like that too often! That’s real folks! I’m sure all the players on both side got a bit emotional seeing that also.

Ken Stallings

May 29th, 2012
11:04 am

Hey Patrick — classiest “first” post I have ever seen!

Ken Stallings

May 29th, 2012
11:08 am

Braveschipper, if all wars were pointless, then all life would be pointless. These men and women volunteer and perform these duties to protect your life and they do not think your life is pointless. I hope someday you can see that and understand why we fight.

If you fight wars to kill people, then that is pointless.

If you fight wars to protect people from death, then that is not pointless.

As with all human endeavors the actions is often secondary to the motivation.

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
11:38 am

if AMERICANS really loved the troops, we wouldnt be so eager to send them to die…

phil

May 29th, 2012
11:41 am

Can Sims play right field?

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
11:43 am

if Americans love the military so much, why does 99% of us dont join?

Ken Stallings

May 29th, 2012
11:45 am

David O’Brien, someone needs to get a check on this troll hijacking peoples’ ID’s.

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
11:46 am

this was just another feel good moment to make us feel warm n fuzzy inside,before we start another war for the defense contractors and their board of directors to profit off the blood of soldiers..

Billy

May 29th, 2012
11:49 am

The best part of game today was Sims return.
God Bless the United States and it Military troops. Protect us from people like @11:38 and all Baracks.

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
11:52 am

i hate this phony love Americans have for the military. the only reason they “love” the military is because theirs no draft, and their kids dont have to defend AMERICA

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
11:54 am

@billy

i see another chickenhawk who hates that his president is black. what has BARACK done except defend AMERICA. why do you hate him for protecting you? i bet youre angry that he gave the kill order on OBAMA..

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
11:57 am

i have a better idea on how to loove our troops. Dont lie to send them to die..

liberalefty

May 29th, 2012
12:01 pm

nobody loves our troops more than chickenhawks.

LydiasDad

May 29th, 2012
12:07 pm

second suprise loses it’s effect,

There should be no apostrophe in your name.

earl

May 29th, 2012
12:54 pm

liberalefty …you are lucky to be alive…thank God there are people who are willing to give their lives so that you can spout you vomit!!

earl

May 29th, 2012
12:56 pm

liberalefty …what would You do to defend your family>>>You probably do not have anyone to defend

second suprise loses it's effect

May 29th, 2012
12:59 pm

for all you HATERS..My only point was this…He did this once already…What about some poor soul who TRULY wanted to surprise his family,and not some dude who likes playing the Surprise game over,and over…I was almost suckered in until they said he did this one time before..My only thought was..How wonderful this story could have a happy ending when a fellow solider ALSO got a first chance at doing the same thing.,,y’all are too wrapped up in the story to think about the other fellow soldiers who WISH they could have one chance to surprise their family.

alex

May 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

@earl, the fact that he can spout or I can spout or you can spout without fear of retribution is the key point. Liberty and freedom of speach. We may despise this opinion and disagree with it , but are glad that he has the right to speak his mind ( no matter how miniscule it may be!)

earl

May 29th, 2012
1:07 pm

liberallefty…why would you bring race in to the subject unless you are a racisct yourself??

earl

May 29th, 2012
1:12 pm

alex…..that was my point….he just does not know what has gone on before to give him…you, and me the opportunity to do so….What would he have done if he was 18 in 1941?????

earl

May 29th, 2012
1:25 pm

your lack of response is what i thought it would be…enough said!

Annie

May 29th, 2012
1:44 pm

I’m not crying, my eyes are just watery. That was so sweet.

Ricky Bobby

May 29th, 2012
1:58 pm

Won’t catch me and my family pulling one of these “Surprise, I’m home” stunts, but more power to the Sims. Deployed to Iraq and missed kid’s first birthday (was there for the conception, but not for long…hi-oh!)…not my style to pop out of a box. It is hard enough to adjust to “normal” life…

The Scales of Justice

May 29th, 2012
1:59 pm

Double Dipping(Surprising Da Family)=Greedy

Spring of George

May 29th, 2012
5:16 pm

Don’t usually care for these surprise reunions much anymore, because they’ve been done so many times at so many public events. It really isn’t a surprise to anyone. I would almost expect to have that family member aroundf the corner hiding. I’m very happy for them and their families, but the originality is gone. Even the wife of the serviceman at yesterdays game figured he was gonna pop out at some point.
But this one at the game yesterday was cool.

time for something new

May 29th, 2012
5:23 pm

Braves–We want to bring your family to game and have a special video message from husband overseas as part of a promotion. Congratulations!
Family–Yeah right, I know he’ll be there. At least he better be after seeing hundreds of these on tv in the past year. Just send him straight home and forget the public surprise to show how wonderful you (Braves) are.

Jaded

May 29th, 2012
5:27 pm

How about bringing them all home Now….Leave a “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” in their place to remind those terrorists who’s in charge.
If you dummies don’t understand the references, read a history book.

Ken Stallings

May 29th, 2012
11:13 pm

Fascinating how jaded some of these comments are. The family members were thrilled. That says about all one needs to know about the value. The crowd was emoationally attached and involed, and Carol Rogers was touched enough to write a post-game column on it.

My parents had to see me go off several times to combat zones. My oldest son is now 18 years old and contemplating joining the military.

I think the comment types we have sometimes seen here were not written by parents, nor by those who have done the duty.

HN "Doc" Cunningham

May 30th, 2012
12:44 am

First off Carroll great story. Now to get to get to my point. As someone serving overseas in a combat zone as im typing this. @Monkey calling us douche bags there is a reason that a lot of us come back acting the way we do from the things we do to what we see. To come back and have people that are ungrateful for what we do so that you can lay down in your house at night and not have to worry about a rocket landing outside of your hut. @Second it doesnt matter how many times MSgt. Sims wants to surprise his family when he comes off deployments cause its the fact that he is coming home walking talking and breathing on his own and not in a casket like a lot of my brothers in arms do when they come home early from here. We all volunteer to be here we take pay cuts from civilian job equivalents we go to third world contries to do humanitarian work to try to better there lives we are first responders to world wide disasters so next time you see a veteran or service member thank them for picking up your slack.

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