WARNER ROBINS — The birth of a child is a magical experience. Knowing that your wife will be without you when it happens is something entirely different.
Tech Sgt. Victor Gonzalez held his daughter, Danika Rose, who is 8 weeks old, for the first time Thursday evening at Robins Air Force Base after being deployed for six months in Afghanistan. He was away from home for more than seven months. Until Thursday, he had only seen a picture of her, sent via e-mail.
Gonzalez is with the 78th Security Forces Squadron and his wife, Master Sgt. Lisa Gonzalez, is with the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron. Victor Gonzalez has been in the Air Force for 13 years, while Lisa Gonzalez has been in for more than 15 years.
“It’s been a rough two months,” Lisa Gonzalez said through tears.
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The 18 returning members of the unit were greeted by fellow members of the 78th, as well as family and friends.
“There’s the bus, there it is!” yelled children waiting in the cold as the bus arrived from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Capt. Jonathon Murray, commander of the 78th Security Forces Squadron, spoke to the unit after the initial tearful welcomes.
“I want you to hear first- hand from me how much we appreciate the sacrifice you and your families made,” Murray said. “Thank you for a job well done.”
Victor and Lisa Gonzalez have another daughter, Emily, 3, who carried a picture of her father. She got the first hug from her dad.
“I’m very excited and very happy,” Victor Gonzalez said. “It’s been a very long deployment.”
Lisa Gonzalez said that when she found out she was pregnant, she knew that her husband wouldn’t be home in time for the birth.
“I started making plans A, B, C and D,” she said. The couple has no family here, but she said “my unit and the other tech sergeants are my family.”
After getting out of the cold, Victor Gonzalez finally unwrapped the blankets that covered his young daughter and saw her open her eyes.
“Doesn’t she look like Emily?” Lisa Gonzalez asked, and the proud father agreed.
To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.