From deployment to the delivery room

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Chris Massey
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A Desert Lightning Team member returning home from a six-month deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan, made it back just in time to welcome his first born son.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Julius Stokes, 355th Security Forces Squadron member, walked down the stairs at Tucson International Airport expecting to see his wife welcoming him home from his deployment.

Instead, he was greeted by members of the 355th SFS and his father in law, Mustafa Abdus-Salaam, telling him that he needed to get to the hospital.

His wife, Staff Sgt. Janay Stokes, 355th SFS Security Forces Squadron member, was already in labor at the hospital the day of his return.

"I knew she would probably go into labor any day," said Julius.  "I was still shocked and overwhelmed, but prepared."

Janay had a due date of Oct. 25 that she had already passed and her doctor was going to induce her labor on Nov. 5.

Baby Stokes must have sensed that daddy was coming home, because about five hours after Julius landed on Nov. 4, the Stokes welcomed a healthy, 9-pound, 7-ounce baby boy, named Elijah.

"I was hoping that he would make it back in time and it's simply a blessing that our son waited for him to return," said Janay.

Three flights with members of Julius' unit were scheduled to come home that day but two were delayed.  Had Julius been on one of those flights, he may not have made it back in time.

"It was a blessing that I made it back in time," Julius said.  "It was a good feeling to be there for her (Janay) especially since she went through most of the pregnancy by herself."

The Stokes would like their unit to know they appreciate all of their support.