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Deployed soldier returns to surprise wife before birth of son

Posted on Nov. 26, 2012 ( comments)

As Amanda Arehart prepared to give birth at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, she thought her husband, a combat medic deployed to Afghanistan, was on a mission.

It turns out, he was.

After more than two days of travel, Spc. Matt Arehart surprised his wife just 15 minutes before their son was born.

"I had to fight hard to get here," Spc. Arehart said as he arrived just in time at Tacoma General.

"The best mission ever," Amanda Arehart said.

The nurses and doctors as the Family Birth Center at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital were in on the secret. The baby was scheduled to arrive at noon, but they pushed back the scheduled C-section to 1 p.m. to give Matt a chance to arrive in time.

Amanda Arehart praised her physician, Dr. Mark Behnam, who wrote three letters on behalf of the couple to encourage military leaders to let Spc. Matt Arehart come home for the birth of their son, whom they named Gunner.

"That was the best surprise ever," Amanda said. "You have to miss a lot of firsts when your spouse is in the military. He missed our daughter's first steps, and it was really nice he didn't have to miss out on his healthy son being born. That just really means a lot."

Their story has since appeared on the "Today Show", on KING 5 news, and in The News Tribune newspaper, as well as on more than 100 TV news broadcasts around the nation. On the Today Show's Facebook page, the story has more than 45,000 "likes" and has been shared by more than 1,200 people.

"She wanted me here," Spc. Arehart said. "I wanted to be here for her. That's why it's a big deal."

Amanda added, "It's just perfect."

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