US soldier catches 10 flights home from Iraq to witness birth of first child

A U.S. soldier based in Iraq went to extraordinary lengths to make it home for the birth of his first child.

Army combat engineer Francois Clerfe took ten flights over the course of two days, traveling all the way from Iraq to Monterey, California, to witness his wife, Natalia Svistunova, give birth to their first daughter on Jan. 1.

"From Kuwait to Turkey, to Turkey to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Baltimore, Baltimore to Atlanta," Clerfe told KSBW of his long journey home, which involved seven planes, ten connections and more than 1,000 miles of air time. 


Photo: KSBW

KSBW reports that the baby, whom the couple has named Julia, was not due until Jan. 9, which made Clerfe's last-minute journey all the more stressful. 

But his wife said she had no doubt that her husband would make it home in time for the monumental event.

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

Thankfully, Clerfe will now be able to enjoy some family time after his long trek home -- he will be able to stay home for a total of 40 days before he has to return to his post.

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