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Photo captures airman, wife jumping for joy

While Air Force Capt. Neil Mercer was in Afghanistan for seven months, he missed a lot.

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PINE LEVEL, N.C. — 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.

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.


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