Soldier Returns Home to Surprising Wife

Mona Franklin lost nearly 200 pounds while her husband was serving overseas.
Mona Franklin lost nearly 200 pounds while her husband was serving overseas.

Thousands of soldiers from South Carolina's Pope Air Base are in the Middle East waiting for their homecomings.

No doubt the families have big plans for their heroes' returns, but one soldier will get a big surprise that's actually a lot smaller than he might expect.

Looking at her today, you wouldn't believe what Mona Franklin looked like when her husband, Sergeant Ben Franklin, left with the 218th for Afghanistan 15 months ago.

Mona weighed 360 pounds.

Simple activities were a chore.

When Ben left for his deployment, times got even harder.

"A lot of stress eating, a lot of laying around and a lot of being depressed," she recalled.

So Mona decided to do something about it.

She had gastric bypass surgery and lost nearly 200 pounds.

The Mona Franklin of today is now a much smaller 195 pounds.

"I feel like a 20-year-old. I feel like a new person," she says.

Instead of sitting around and just eating, Mona now exercises regularly with her son Corey.

She even helped decorate the Union Armory for the soldiers homecoming, which is expected to be next week.

When Ben gets home, it will be his first view of the new Mona.

"I think he's going to be shocked. I think he's going to be very happy," she says.

Mona and Ben kept in touch via video phone, with the camera showing just her face.

Her new body has been a tough secret to keep from her husband.

"I want to share it with him, I want to show him. But I think for him to see it person, he'll get more out of it," she said.

Mona still has another 50 pounds to go until she reaches her weight loss goal, but her husband still gets to come home from half a world away to a wife that weighs just a little more than half of what she did when he left.