Local News

Photo captures airman, wife jumping for joy

Posted March 18, 2011

— Air Force Capt. Neil Mercer, of Pine Level, missed a lot in the past seven months while he was in Afghanistan.

“I grew,” said his wife Hilary Mercer, who is eight months pregnant with the couple’s son, Jack.

Neil Mercer was among 300 airmen who arrived at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base this week.

“I see her there and she’s got this addition now with the baby. It’s just a wonderful feeling,” he said. 

The Mercers' friend, Autumn Harrison, a photographer, took a photograph of the couple literally jumping for joy when they saw each other at the base

“I know in 10 years I’m going to love that picture,” Hilary Mercer said. “I was able to do this at eight months pregnant.”

Hilary Mercer is also a photographer. Photographing people in mid-air is her favorite pose.

“You look at a picture and you kind of wonder in the back of your mind, ‘Well, what got them to that point?'" Neil Mercer said.

Airman, wife jump for joy Airman, wife jump for joy

It was Neil Mercer's second deployment to Afghanistan. His wife learned she was pregnant five days after he deployed. 

“It’s nice having him back so I can use him,” she said with a laugh, referring to all the projects he does around the house.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • esprg Mar 18, 2011

    Ditto that @ hereinraleigh

  • divaprincess0 Mar 18, 2011

    I love the pic, however the reporter needs to proof read the article....what is :give: days after he deployed? Im assuming :five:

  • robsarge Mar 18, 2011

    Welcome home Captain, thank you for your service, both you AND your wife! We support you, we salute you!

    ..from an old retired USAF Msgt...

  • hereinraleigh Mar 18, 2011

    what a nice story and a very cute photo. What a nice change from all the ugly and unfortunate in the world.

  • hondaboys Mar 18, 2011

    Good to see some happy/great news. Welcome home ...Mike

  • aperitive Mar 18, 2011

    Having known both Hilary and Neil for a number of years, I can assure you that this is EXACTLY how they are, 98% of the time.


  • BBWAFRICANWOMAN Mar 18, 2011

    "did you not read the article or what?"

    The article was updated a few minutes ago and that portion of the story wasn't available when I commented. You can now go back to being WRAL's hall monitor.

  • smcallah Mar 18, 2011

    "Geez, that looks staged. Give me a break..."

    Yes, it was staged, did you not read the article or what? And just decided to comment, why?

    Clearly, if you read the article, the woman in the photo's favorite pose is in mid-air. That's how she likes to photograph people, and that is how her friend photographed her and her husband.

    What amazing things you can know if you just read the articles.

  • Hey yuall Mar 18, 2011

    Geeze denismcal....take it for what it is...a couple excited to be reunited...regardless of whether it is staged....be happy for someone...you might have a better attitude!!! SMILES!!!!

  • noreen Mar 18, 2011

    Well, I think it's very romantic.