CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - While rest and relaxation leave signifies a well-deserved break for many Soldiers, there are a few of them that make the long trip home in hopes of being there for the birth of their new son or daughter.

Recently, Pfc. Robert Ayala, a badging office clerk with A Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) out of Fort Hood, Texas, was rushed home after he was notified of his wife's situation. According to doctors his wife, Amber Ayala, was expected to go into labor within the next few days, hopefully with Ayala there by her side for the birth of their first son, Ayala said.

Additionally, several other Soldiers from A Co. made it home for this reason. Spc. Brandon Newkirk, a Fayetteville, N.C., native, received notification of his second son's impending birth in February and was able to make it to Texas on time.

Spc. Travis Gibson, a Forest Part, Md., native, also left for the U.S. in hopes of being by his wife's side at the time of their new baby's birth, he said. Gibson was on mission days before his scheduled flight date, but he was able to fly back to Q-West in time for his departure.

Being in that hospital room at the exact moment as the birth may be important for these Soldiers. 1st Lt. Robert Longhauser, a Williamstown, Ky., native, and his wife, Virginia Elaine Longhauser, welcomed their new baby boy July 19, 2009, less than two months before deployment. Longhauser returned from leave and explained how it felt to see his boy, Spencer, again.

"I was awestruck to see Spencer for the first time in six months as he has grown so big and his hair is ready to be cut again," Longhauser explained. "As soon as I saw him I could not help but cry a little as the dream of seeing him and holding him had become a reality ... the miniature version of me had gotten bigger and was starting to annunciate the word 'dada.'"