July 27, 2013 - Marine 1st Lt. Jon Eisele took AirVenture - and his parents - by surprise Saturday in a stealthy operation complete with strategic disinformation, infiltration, and espionage.
When Lt. Eisele stepped from a vehicle to greet his mother Nancy and father Elton at AirVenture, tears of surprise and joy flowed freely. Jon's parents manage AirVenture's important Departure Briefing operation. Their son learned earlier this month that his six-month deployment to Afghanistan would end early since his team's mission was completed.
At that point, Jon let his youngest brother know he would slip into Oshkosh quietly, and arranged with other EAA members to get him to his parents ... stealthily. Furthering the subterfuge, Jon continued to post photos of Afghanistan on his Facebook page even after he was stateside, fostering the illusion he was still deployed.
The surprise was complete.
Jon said he has attended AirVenture consecutively for 25 years plus one - the year his mother was pregnant with him. And he came ready to work this year. "I'd like to get a little volunteering done today and tomorrow," he added.
A bright Marine Corps flag hangs inside the Departure Briefing building, a reminder that all three of the Eisele boys are Marines (the youngest a recruit).