BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Tears of joy were flowing at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport during an emotional reunion involving a military family in which a father got to see his new son for the very first time.
Two-week-old Brantley Crawford sat restless in his mother's arms Sunday evening at the airport. Family and friends waited anxiously, checking the arrival monitors for any update. Upstairs in the terminal, Petty Officer Third Class Justin Crawford finally arrived 30 minutes behind schedule.
"Really excited and really nervous and everything, said Crawford. "Heart's racing like crazy right now."
After six months away from his wife and family at sea in the Persian Gulf, Crawford is back again, but this time he returns a new father laying eyes on his newborn son for the first time.
"I was really happy the moment was here and everything and I got to hold him and smaller than what I expected, but everything was perfect in my eyes and feels amazing to finally hold my son that I've been waiting to hold for two weeks now," said Crawford.
Crawford's mother, Vickie Dove, has been through this before with two other sons that served in the US Army and like so many times in the past, she was overcome with emotion.
"The last time I saw him was my birthday and he came in and surprised me and cooked me a steak and everything and now I have the best Christmas present ever because my family's complete again," said Dove.
Crawford's new family is now complete as well and while he had to wait a little longer than he would have liked to hold his first child, he said time away serving his country makes coming back even more special.
"Moments like this, I'm so happy to be a part of, though I missed the birth of my son, doing all this and seeing everyone here and everything with all the love and support is everything I could ask for and I loved it," said Crawford.
Justin, his wife, Ashley, and baby Brantley will head to Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, FL, where he is stationed, next week.