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Marine Yells in Shock When He’s Surprised by Battle Buddies He’s Not Seen in Decades on 40th Birthday

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A Marine was left in shock when he opened his front door on his 40th birthday and was surprised by his battle buddies from across the country – some of whom he hadn’t seen for around two decades.


Shane Highley, from Barboursville, West Virginia, enlisted in the Marines right after 9/11 before heading to Yorktown Naval Weapon Station, Yorktown, Virginia, with 2nd Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company 7th platoon (2nd Fast) in 2002.

During that time, Shane made bonds with fellow Marines, who he says are more like brothers to him than friends.

After their service, Shane and his fellow Marines went their separate ways, with his battle buddies across the country in the likes of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and Texas.

But ahead of his 40th, Shane’s long-term girlfriend, Sophie Voelkel, wanted to plan something special for the big milestone – during which time she realized he’d never been given a surprise party.

Having never met any of Shane’s Marine buddies, Sophie thought this would be a perfect opportunity to plan a surprise and get the group together again.


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She reached out to one of Shane’s battle buddies, Sergeant Kirby Ziesmer, and asked if he could help coordinate the rest of the unit to see who might be available.

Ahead of the surprise, six Marines had committed, and so on the weekend of Shane’s birthday, April 7, Sophie informed him he needed to get the house ready, as some people were heading over to help him celebrate.

Shane suspected it might be his brothers or nephews, Sophie said – but he had no idea about what was about to happen.


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Having opened the door to his first guest, Shane screamed and shouted expletives when he saw Kirby before giving his battle buddy a big hug.

Then, a few hours later, Shane was encouraged to head to his front door again, where he was greeted by five other Marines.

The surprise took place on Shane’s birthday in 2023, but Sophie did not share her wholesome videos of the moments until a year later when she posted a throwback post online.

She said: “Shane was extremely overwhelmed and surprised, but it was like no time had passed between all of them, except for the gray hairs and new wrinkles.


RELATED: Marine Returns Home to Surprise Mom at Work, the Reaction Is Priceless

“It was probably the happiest I have ever seen him; the smile on his face was so big, and he was in such shock.

“All of the guys seemed to be so happy to be together.

“I made the video on TikTok a year later, on his 41st birthday, to celebrate the memory we had made the year before with the surprise.

“I had no idea it would become so popular. The comments from people are so genuine, nice and emotional it made me tear up reading them.”

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