Deployed soldier travels across world for daughter's birth

Posted at 3:55 AM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 00:54:29-05

MONTEREY, CA (KSBW/CNN) - A solider deployed in Iraq took seven flights, totaling more than 10,000 miles in the air, to make sure he made it home for the birth of his baby girl.

It was the trip of a lifetime for US Army Combat Engineer Francois Clerfe, who was deployed in Iraq but needed to get home to Monterey, CA, as soon as possible.

The soon-to-be father took advantage of a special policy in his battalion that allowed him to return home for the delivery of his firstborn.

Clerfe spent two days traveling, taking seven planes and 10 connections to witness his baby girl’s birth.

"I'm glad that Julia, baby Julia, waited for me,” Clerfe said.

Julia was born on New Year’s Day, with Clerfe making it home just in time. The baby hadn’t been due until Jan. 9.               

"You know, I had the feeling that he would make it because he really wanted to be here next to us,” said Francois’ wife, Natalia Svistunova.

The proud father will be able to stay home for 30 days, and then he has another 10 days of paternity leave.

"You can’t explain, but inside of you, you're just jumping for joy,” Clerfe said. “That moment – having a first kid into the world the very first day of the new year – I think it's going to be a very good year."

Copyright 2018 KSBW, Family Photos via CNN. All rights reserved.

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