Marine sees newborn daughter without leaving Iraq

3:07 PM, Jun 20, 2008   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Just 16 hours old, little Aislyn Marie is starting a life full of firsts. And on Tuesday morning, a big one is just a few minutes away.

The six pounder arrived Monday evening in a St. Petersburg hospital room noticeably lacking an anxious father. During 12 hours of labor, Erin Entrekin had no comforting hand of her husband to hold.

"Very hard, probably the hardest thing I've ever experienced in my life," says Erin from her room at St. Petersburg General Hospital.

You see, dad is a Marine reservist in Iraq. But he's just about to appear on a computer screen set up in front of his growing family. Through the lens of a webcam and a satellite hookup, Lance Corporal Greg Entrekin sees his daughter for the very first time.

"She's got a lot of hair," his first remark. "Wish I could be there to hold her."

And then the Aislyn analyzing begins. Erin points out, "She's got your lips and nose." Greg queries, "Whose ears does she have?"

A non-profit group called The Freedom Calls Foundation works with the military and families to provide video visits like this one. Each month, satellite expenses run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

But moments like this one (a baby held before a camera for a father thousands of miles away to see) are priceless.

For more information on the Freedom Calls Foundation click here.

Kathryn Bursch, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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