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Airman helps deliver daughter, deploys same day

Airman 1st Class Timothy Pledger holds his daughter, Zoey, hours after delivering her himself Aug. 30, 2013. Pledger’s flight to deploy to Guam had been delayed so he went home to be with his pregnant wife. Not long after he came home, she went into labor. In less than an hour, Pledger and his wife welcomed their new baby girl into the family. Pledger is an electronic warfare journeyman with the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (Courtesy photo)

Airman 1st Class Timothy Pledger holds his daughter, Zoey, hours after delivering her himself Aug. 30, 2013. Pledger’s flight to deploy to Guam had been delayed so he went home to be with his pregnant wife. Not long after he came home, she went into labor. In less than an hour, Pledger and his wife welcomed their new baby girl into the family. Pledger is an electronic warfare journeyman with the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (Courtesy photo)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Airman 1st Class Timothy Pledger was scheduled to depart for his six-month deployment  in the early hours of the morning Aug. 30, but an aircraft malfunction pushed back his departure.

Pledger returned home until the new departure time to be with his pregnant wife, who was expecting any day. Around 9 a.m., his wife's water broke. With no time to spare, Pledger took action.

"I called emergency services when her water broke," he said. "However, the baby was already coming out. I called them back so they could give me step-by-step instructions on how to deliver the baby."

The emergency personnel told Pledger to ensure his wife was fine and to tell her to continue to push while also checking on the baby's condition. When the baby got stuck, Pledger said he had no idea what to do, but kept his composure and listened to the emergency personnel's directions. After applying what the emergency personnel told him, a few minutes later his daughter was completely out and breathing normally.

"The moment was magical," Pledger said. "I was all choked up and could barely talk." After the fire department and ambulance arrived, his wife and daughter were taken to a local hospital where they were stabilized and in good condition.  His daughter, Zoey, weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and measured 19 inches.

"This is definitely a once in a lifetime situation," he added. "With the delayed jet in the beginning, it seems like this was meant to happen."

Later that day, the electronic warfare journeyman was on the plane to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to support the continuous bomber presence mission.

"This is a testament to Airmen we have at Barksdale (AFB) and the Air Force in general," said Master Sgt. Anthony Grubb, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. "To deliver his own daughter early in the morning, when he was supposed to deploy, and not even 12 hours later, go through the processing line and get on a jet to support the mission says a lot about the great Airmen we have here. Family is important and so is the mission, and Pledger was able to successfully support both."

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