Sailor surprises sister at UT graduation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sailor surprises sister at UT graduation

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Dale Cockrell, Petty Officer 2nd Class, waits and surprises his sister at UT graduation. WBIR photos Dale Cockrell, Petty Officer 2nd Class, waits and surprises his sister at UT graduation. WBIR photos
KNOXVILLE (WBIR) -

Nearly 2,000 graduates in black caps and gowns received their diplomas at the University of Tennessee Friday, but one journalism and electronic media major had no idea her younger brother, who has been deployed for the past 16 months, flew home to surprise her on stage.

"I found out in September that I was going to be coming home and I originally only told my mother," said Dale Cockrell, Petty Officer 2nd Class. "When I got into the country I stopped using my phone. And I've been hiding at my mother's home for the last day and a half."

Cockrell has been aboard the Navy's U.S.S George Washington.

"We're working a lot, so we're trying not to think about it . You try to keep your mind occupied while you're out to sea and time goes by fast , but when you can come home it's worth every minute especially when you can surprise someone and do something like we did today."

Cockrell's family, along with his sister's friends and the University of Tennessee, worked together to orchestrate the surprise, which was broadcast on two big screens in Thomson-Boling Arena.

He stood hiding behind UT staff until his big sister's name was called.

Read more at WBIR's website.

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