Deployed family members reunite for birth of child
By Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 19, 2017
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- After four months in Afghanistan working as an aircraft armament systems technician, Staff Sgt. Jeff A. Parrish Jr. was looking forward to some well-earned rest and relaxation with his wife before the birth of their daughter.
Rest and relaxation was far from reality; however, as the first-time father high tailed it home a few days ahead of his team in anticipation of his daughter, Raelynn Noelle's early delivery, on June 15.
“My team was held up in Ramstein, Germany, for three days after our plane broke down trying to return home from deployment when I was woken up at 5 a.m. by leadership saying my wife was having complications and she may have to be induced,” Parrish recalled. “Thanks to them and the Red Cross, I was on a civilian commercial flight heading home within five hours of being notified.”
Parrish’s wife, Jacquelyne, while worried her husband was not going to make it home in time for their daughter’s birth, remained calm and collected with the support of family, friends, co-workers an “amazing” medical team and her husband’s stateside leadership.
“I became worried when I got word that he might be held up in Germany longer than expected and touched base with his local unit,” she said. “His commander, Maj. Sarah Scaglione, (920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron) helped me go through the process (of emergency notification) with the Red Cross. Once my doctor explained my situation to them, the process moved fast in getting him home.”
“We went to see the doctor the next day (June 8) and luckily my levels were stable at that time,” she continued. “A week later though I had to be induced. It was scary, but I’m glad I got to spend some time with Jeff just before Raelynn was born. That way he was able to experience her kick and get a little situated back home beforehand.”
Jeff’s father, Tech. Sgt. Jeff A. Parrish, 920th Maintenance Squadron munitions assistant flight chief, who was deployed to the Horn of Africa during the same timeframe as his son, was also able to make it home just in time meet his first grandchild in the hospital.
“The aircraft we were on also broke down, due to a couple of maintenance issues, which delayed us getting home, but luckily I was still able to be home in time for Raelynn’s birth,” he said. “It’s crazy when you realize that your baby now has a baby; time moves quickly.”
“I appreciate the 920th Rescue Wing supervision working with my son and daughter-in-law during this stressful time,” he continued. “This is yet another story which proves that the 920th is family.”
Jeff Jr. echoed his father’s thanks as he recalled the whirlwind of emotions surrounding his daughter’s birth.
“Being there for her birth meant the world to me,” said the Orlando, Florida, native. “I wanted to get back more than anything. It was an amazing and humbling experience that is hard to put into words. I just want to thank everyone who helped my family during this entire process. We will never forget this amazing experience and will always think of the 920th as part of our family.”
Now, a month later, with the family settled into a routine, Jacquelyne said they are in a good and happy place in their lives.
“It has been very surreal,” she said. “I am really glad to have him back home, and glad that he was able to be there for the delivery of our daughter, and that we had time to get used to being first-time parents together. We have enjoyed spending time with Raelynn surrounded by loved ones.”