A small crowd gathered in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal C Thursday evening for a homecoming and an introduction.
The homecoming was for Navy Petty Officer Second Class Tyler Rohne, of Weatherford, who was returning from a nine-month deployment aboard a submarine.
The introduction was with his daughter, Victoria, who was born two weeks after her daddy set sail.
“He’s never met her, never seen her. Doesn’t know how she feels, how she smells – nothing,” said Kristy Rohne, mother to Victoria and Tyler, Junior – TJ – and wife to Tyler, who anxiously held her daughter, eyes ever-darting toward gate C16 for a glimpse of her husband’s dress whites.
“This is a huge day. This is bigger than wedding days, first dates, everything,” Kristy Rohne added. “This is the day.”
The day became even better a few minutes before 6 p.m. – a full 30 minutes after American Airlines flight 142 was supposed to arrive – when anticipation gave over to elation and Tyler appeared at the end of the long jetway connecting the plane to the terminal.
“It’s daddy!” Kristy Rohne announced as she approached, her children in tow.
A hug and kiss later and the Rohne family, all four together – finally, emerged into the terminal to the sound of applause.
Once clear of the crowd, Petty Officer Second Class Rohne put his son down and picked up his daughter for the first time.
“It’s a good day. I’m happy to see her. Finally get to hold her for the first time,” Tyler Rohne told NBC DFW moments before he planted a father’s first kiss on the child, who responded with cooing and smiles.
“That is better than I imagined,” Kristy Rohne said, watching her husband hold their daughter. “That is the best sight in the world. That’s more than I have ever hoped for. That is what I’ve dreamed of for eight months.”