PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Being overseas in the military has plenty of hardships, but for two local servicemen, they missed the births of their children.
However, there was a happy reunion Wednesday between the men, their wives and their newborns.
The wives of two local airmen from the 911th Airlift Wing thought that they were going to be part of Robin Meade’s daily salute to the troops on HLN this morning.
However, little did they know that they were in for a surprise of a lifetime.
The wives of the 911th’s Sr. Airmen Keith Graft and Domenic Mash fought back the tears as Meade set-up a surprise reunion.
The men were introduced to their newborns for the first time after volunteering to replace a security forces team for seven months overseas.
“Just seeing something so precious sitting there, you realize why we made this. It was just an awesome feeling,” Sr. Airman Mash said.
“Knowing your wife is pregnant and you’re not there for her and she can’t do the things she was able to do when you left and so you’re really concerned about her,” Sr. Airman Graft said.
They arrived back at Pittsburgh International Airport just hours later. The surprise of a lifetime and the relief their loved ones are home safe is still very emotional.
“I can’t even explain it. It was the best feeling and to see him hold his baby for the first time, it was amazing,” Lauren Graft said.
“It’s a big relief definitely that knowing he’s home safe now and he can finally hold his daughter for the first time,” Katlyn Mash said.
Family members said it was hard keeping their arrival a secret, but it was worth it.
“Seeing him hold his baby was just, oh my gosh! And being reunited with his wife Lauren, oh my gosh,” Graft’s mother, Barbara Denning said.
“We’re so happy that he’s home and that his wife has him there. And that’s he’s not going to miss any more moments,” Graft’s sister, Nadine Young said.
Both airmen agreed that the hardest part about their deployment to Afghanistan wasn’t their own safety. It was worrying about their wives during their pregnancy and not being back home for them.