A U.S. soldier has made an arduous, yet special journey home, taking 10 flights, traveling 8,000 miles over 2 days, through 4 countries to be there for the birth of his baby on New Year’s day.
Francois Clerfe, a sergeant in the Army, took advantage of a special arrangement which allows soldiers to be there when their children are born.
Just days before his daughter was born in California, Clerfe was 8,000 miles away, stationed in Iraq.
Despite the unpredictability of birth dates, his journey from Iraq to Monterey California—via Kuwait, Turkey, and Germany—was well timed.
With his daughter Julia arriving 9 days ahead of her due date, luck was on his side, arriving in Monterey just before his wife went into labor.
Julia Clerfe, was born weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces at the Community Hospital Of Monterey Peninsula at 9:53 a.m. on New Year’s Day, the hospital said in a statement on Facebook.
She was the first baby born the hospital this year.
Clerfe described the excitement of his journey to WCVB
“Kuwait, to Turkey, to Turkey to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Baltimore, Baltimore to Atlanta,” he said. “It was fun and exciting at the same time, you know the thrill of thinking the what-ifs.”
“I’m glad that Julia waited for me,” he said.
‘That moment, having your first kid [come] into the world on the very first day of the new year…” he said.
“I think it’s going to be a very good year.”
Julia’s mother, Natalia Svistunova, said she was confident that he would make it for the birth.
“I had the feeling that he would make it because he really wanted to be here next to us,” she told WCVB.
According to the station, a special policy in Clerfe’s battalion allowed him special leave, and it means he can stay at home for 30 days in addition to another 10 days for paternity leave.