TODAY   |  November 23, 2012

Soldier surprises wife just in time for son’s birth

On Tuesday, just before Thanksgiving, Amanda Arehart was about to give birth alone. Her husband, Matt, was on his third tour of duty thousands of miles away – or so she thought, until he arrived just 15 minutes before the birth of their son. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>> action we've seen a lot of touching moments with soldiers coming back from the front lines surprise their kid. this time a military man surprised his wife just in time for the birth of their son. the story from nbc's kristen dahlgren.

>> reporter: for amanda earhart it could have been a much different holiday.

>> just do it on my own.

>> reporter: on tuesday she was about to give birth to a baby boy alone.

>> he was the only person that i wanted to hand the healthy son to.

>> reporter: her husband matt was on his third tour of duty in afghanistan thousands of miles away , or so she thought.

>> oh, the my god.

>> reporter: matt had kept this mission top secret .

>> she wanted me here. i wanted to be here for her so that's why it's a big deal .

>> reporter: he made it home just in the nick of time . 15 minutes later the son they named gunner made his own grand entrance.

>> it's just perfect.

>> reporter: doctors and nurses at tacoma general had deglad aman amanda 's c-section to try to give time to get there. it wasn't an easy trip for the 25-year-old combat medic . for a month he had been begging his superiors to let him come home. amanda 's doctors even wrote letters, but finally, after more than 25 hours of flying.

>> that was the best surprise ever. it was amazing. you have to mess a lot of first when your spouse is in the military. he missed his daughter's first steps and just really nice he didn't have to miss out on his healthy son being born. that just really means a lot.

>> reporter: a lot to be thankful for, for a war hero and his family all together and home for the holiday. for "today," kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles .