US soldier in Iraq hops 10 flights home to witness daughter's birth

Despite being stationed in Iraq, Francois Clerfe was determined to make the journey home to California in time for the birth of his first child. Ten flights and two days later, the U.S. Army combat engineer managed just that by Jan. 1.

“Kuwait, to Turkey, to Turkey to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Baltimore, Baltimore to Atlanta,” Clerfe recounted to WCVB of his trek back to the West Coast. The station further explained that he utilized a special policy in his battalion to return to Monterey to support wife Natalia Svistunova.

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“It was fun and exciting at the same time, you know the thrill of thinking the 'what-ifs,'” he joked of the journey, which spanned thousands upon thousands of miles.

At 9:53 a.m. on New Year’s Day, baby Julia arrived at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She was the hospital’s first baby born in 2018, WVCB reports.

clerfe family, francois clerfe

Clerfe's wife, Natalia Svistunova, says she wasn't worried her husband would make it home. "He really wanted to be here, next to us," she said.  (Francois Clerfe)

Meanwhile, Svistunova said she had no fear of her husband failing to make it back in time.

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

And as excited as Clerfe was to see his new daughter, she was apparently just as ready to see him: Julia wasn't due until Jan. 9, making Clerfe's swift return stateside all the more sweet.

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The new family is now enjoying some well-deserved quality time throughout the next month before Clerfe returns to his post, and they couldn’t be more excited to see what 2018 has is store.

“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.

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Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak