A service member thought to be deployed to Afghanistan surprised his family during President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Trump announced Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams’s return near the end of his speech, as he called for the end of the nearly 19-year-long Afghanistan War.
“War places a heavy burden on our nation’s extraordinary military families,” Trump said as he addressed Amy Williams, of Fort Bragg, N.C., and the couple’s two children, who sat beside first lady Melania Trump in the audience.
“Amy works full time, and volunteers countless hours helping other military families. For the past seven months, she has done it all while her husband … is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to the Middle East. … Your family’s sacrifice makes it possible for all of our families to live in safety and peace, we thank you.”
Trump then added, “there is one more thing tonight we have a very special surprise, I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment, he is here with us tonight and we couldn’t keep him waiting any longer.”
Williams then walked down the stairs in the press gallery and embraced his family, as multiple people in the crowd began to chant “USA!”
Trump earlier had said the administration was “working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home,” though officials have struggled top come to an agreement in talks with the Taliban in the past year.
Last week, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani he had seen “no notable progress” in ending the conflict.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then said Monday that the U.S. will not agree to a cease-fire with Taliban forces in Afghanistan without “demonstrable evidence” that it is committed to reducing violence.