Soldier's surprise secret mission: meeting newborn son

Nov. 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM ET

Military spouse and expectant mom Amanda Arehart wasn’t the only one who made a delivery in time for Thanksgiving.

Her husband, a combat medic on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, surprised her by appearing just minutes before she was wheeled in for her scheduled C-section.

“She wanted me here. I wanted to be here for her, so that’s why it’s a big deal,” he told TODAY.

The surprise took lots of planning. Arehart pleaded with his superiors for a month to let him come home. His wife’s doctors also wrote letters on his behalf.

And then, after getting permission, there was the 25 hours of flying to reach his Tacoma, Wash., home.

Amanda Arehart said she had set herself up to deliver the baby, the couple’s second, alone.

“You have to miss a lot of firsts when your spouse is in the military. He missed our daughter's first steps,” she said. “It was just really nice he didn’t have to miss out on his healthy son being born. That really means a lot.”

The hospital's doctors and nurses helped out with the surprise, delaying the delivery as much as they could to give Arehart as much time as possible.

The couple’s son, Gunner, was born about 15 minutes after his father arrived.

Amanda Arehart called it “the best surprise ever.”

“It’s just perfect.”

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