Long Knife Soldier in Afghanistan watches birth via Skype
January 7, 2013
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Jan. 7, 2013) -- While many are familiar with the 1970s song "Love Will Keep Us Together" by The Captain and Tennille, the title can be tweaked for the 21st century to "Technology Will Keep Us Together."
Spc. Christopher Chavez, a 20-year-old intelligence analyst from A Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, witnessed the birth of his first child via Skype, from Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Afghanistan.
Alice Renee Chavez was born Jan. 3, to Chavez and his wife Paige, both from Buckeye, Ariz.
In a perfect world, Christopher would have been physically present to welcome his baby girl into the world. Fortunately, Skype was readily available to connect the father to his wife and baby during this exciting time.
"It was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced," he said. "Seeing both my wife and my newborn while in Afghanistan was incredible."
Christopher's chain of command was equally excited about him becoming a father.
"I know it is difficult to miss the birth of a child, and a father's firstborn is particularly special, but Specialist Chavez has proven to be a vital member of our company," said Capt. Eric Francis, A Company commander, from Muscatine, Iowa. "While I wish he could be home to help his wife with their daughter, I am certainly glad to have Specialist Chavez on our team."
Christopher, who was recently recognized as the 1st Cavalry Division's hero of the week, experienced the usual stress and anxiety that goes along with having an expecting wife, not to mention being deployed more than 7,000 miles away.
"To be honest I feel the same as I did yesterday, but a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now that my baby is out and healthy and my wife is perfectly fine," he said.
Paige Chavez looks forward to her husband's redeployment later this year. She is finding out that the task of taking care of a newborn by herself can be quite an undertaking. Thankfully, both sets of little Alice's grandparents are there to help her mom out.
"I was happy that my husband could join me, even if it was on Skype," she said.
Although many of Christopher's family and friends are stateside, he appreciated the support from his fellow soldiers.
"The support from my co-workers was a real boost as well as the large amount of congratulations," he said.
Christopher looks forward to his future in the Army and adding to his family.
"I plan to remain in the Army until I can retire at 20 years," he said. "If not, I plan on going to college and getting a degree in psychology, sociology or zoology. As for my family plans, we want to have, at most, another two children, one boy and one girl. I hope for another two boys, but I won't stop until I get at least one."