CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq -- There are many ways to talk to family when deployed - Skype, Yahoo Messenger, and more - but sometimes the old ways can be just as pleasing.

Soldiers assigned to the 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, surprised their children with a video teleconference all the way from northern Iraq to Meadows Elementary School at Fort Hood, Texas, Dec. 14.

Leaders from Meadows Elementary, the Long Knife brigade's rear detachment, and Maj. Ernesto Lopez, saw this as an opportunity to connect deployed Soldiers with their children.

"The focus of this VTC is to afford the Soldiers a chance to talk with their children in a different scene then just their rooms on Skype. It allowed the kids to see their parents in a work environment," said Lopez.

Soldiers sat in front of a television screen with a camera staring at them, waiting for their children to appear. Some received more than expected.

"I was hoping to surprise my little girl (Ayana) at school, but I was shocked to see my whole family was there, too," said Spc. Andres Montero, training room non-commissioned officer for A Company, 27th Brigade Support Battalion.

Emotions were high for some of the children not knowing what was going on and then surprised to see their mom or dad on the screen in front of them.

"It was a little hard for my daughter at first. She was a little emotional, but once she realized I was there, we talked and had a good time," said Sgt. Tammy Ellis, a combat medic with C Company 27th BSB.

The Soldiers were happy to be afforded this opportunity to see and talk to their children during a time they normally wouldn't be able to see them.

"It was good that I was able to see my son while he was in school, which is something I don't get to do while I'm deployed," said Master Sgt. Phillip Murphy, the senior supply sergeant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company. "I didn't get to talk to my son often last deployment, so this was definitely a morale booster."