On any given Friday night, high school football is a roller coaster of emotions, both on the field and in the stands.  Throw in a Naval officer from Wisconsin surprising his younger brother on his 17th birthday, and it adds another layer of fervor.

Austin Bonk, a petty officer in the U.S. Navy, told his family he wasn’t due home for another month. They thought he was in Washington, so after not seeing him for more than a year, imagine their surprise when he showed up on the field after the national anthem was played to give his brother, Noah, a tap on the shoulder to wish him a happy birthday.

“I was just absolutely shocked,” Noah, a defensive lineman for Greendale High School, told the Journal Sentinel. “I kind of felt someone coming up behind me, but I didn’t think anything of it. I was so focused on the game and getting hyped up that I was so shocked when I saw him. I didn’t know what to do.

“It was amazing. It’s easily the happiest moment of my life so far,” he added. “I was just in awe.”

It touched their father, Doug, just as much from the stands.

“I didn’t think anything of it sitting in the stands, and all of a sudden people start saying things to me and I can’t figure out what’s going on,” he said. “They said, ‘Look at the goalpost,’ and I’m like, ‘What am I looking at?’

“Then they go, ‘Look for the hat.’ I still have no idea what’s going on. Finally, someone says to look for Austin. It was absolutely crazy seeing him standing there. What a thing to do for his brother’s birthday.”

The moment was caught on camera, so it’s something the family can watch over and over again down the road.



Austin will reportedly get to spend time with his family until Sept. 29, when he returns to duty.