N-Photo Magazine / Contributor

He traveled thousands of miles in order to make it home in time.

Aric Jenkins
January 03, 2018

An American soldier abroad went to extraordinary lengths to witness the birth of his first child back home.

U.S. Army combat engineer Francois Clerfe utilized a special policy in his battalion that allowed him to return from Iraq to Monterey, California in time for the delivery. But to do so required an incredible journey: Seven planes, 10 connections, two days and thousands of miles, according to ABC affiliate WCVB.

“Kuwait, to Turkey, to Turkey to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Baltimore, Baltimore to Atlanta,” Clerfe told the station. “It was fun and exciting at the same time, you know the thrill of thinking the what-ifs.”

Fortunately for Clerfe, the what-ifs never had to be answered. He made it back in time to witness his wife, Natalia Svistunova, gave birth to a girl, Julia Clerfe, on New Year’s Day.

“You know I had the feeling that he would make it because he really wanted to be here, next to us,” Svistunova told WCVB.

“That moment, having a first kid into the world [on] the very first day of the New Year, I think that it’s going to be a very good year,” Clerfe said.

The policy Clerfe took advantage of will allow him to stay at home for 30 days in addition to another 10 days for paternity leave, according to WCVB.

The best part: Baby Julia was actually due on January 9, so Clerfe made it home just in time for her early arrival.

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