Marine comes home from Iraq to meet new son

March 28, 2008 3:44:05 PM PDT
A U.S. Marine has returned home for a three-week visit, highlighted by serious bonding time with his newborn son. But Sgt. William Chevalier did not miss the birth of little Christian James, or C.J., last December. The military let him take off an afternoon to be part of the birth by video-conference. Now that the Marine is home, he and his family are even more grateful for that opportunity.

C.J. Chevalier claimed his dad's arms and his heart at 2:30 a.m. Friday, which was the moment Sgt. William Chevalier walked through the door in Naperville. His wife, Janelle, and daughter Makayla were sitting on the stairs. It was a stunning moment.

"[It was ] just pure awe that I had a child in the world, and now, just jubilation I have actually been able to get here and meet him for the first time and get to know him," the sergeant said.

Sgt. Chevalier has seen his share of 'Very Important People' as a lead jet engine mechanic responsible for 100 maintainers who keep planes flying in Iraq. In December, a private group called the Freedom Calls Foundation set up a video conference on the base to connect him to his wife, who was then bringing in their own VIP at Naperville's Edward hospital.

"Seeing my son being born and watching my wife hold him for the first time was the most amazing thing, and you know, all I could do is sit there and look dumbly at the screen," Sergeant Chevalier said.

"Sitting there and watching the whole thing, oh... ahhh! I get chills just thinking about it!" the sergeant's wife, Janelle Chevalier, said.

The picture during the video conference was clear enough for the father to note his son's resemblance to him. The baby's parents dismiss the bitter sweetness of it all.

"I got the best. I got more than I anticipated. I thought I was going to get a phone call, 'Hey, you got a kid.' But, no, I was able to actually participate," William Chevalier said.

"It was so amazing. It was so amazing, and I am so thankful to those people for doing this for us," said Janelle Chevalier.

Now, life with a newborn in the house marches ahead.

"It feels like we are a real family again, because we used to, like, Daddy would go to work, he'll come back during the night. Now, it feels like we are back to being a regular family again," said the couple's daughter, Makayla Chevalier.

William Chevalier will return to Iraq for an additonal month and a half. He hopes to be discharged by early summer.

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