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By Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 30, 2019
Col. Timothy Bos, 821st Air Base Group commander, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Lee Utsey, 821st ABG superintendent, congratulate Staff Sgt. David Cuff, 821st Security Forces Squadron bravo team lead, middle, during his notification of promotion to technical sergeant at Thule Air Base, Greenland, July 19, 2019. Cuff was officially notified of his promotion selection when he was on paternity leave. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)
Staff Sgt. David Cuff, 821st Security Forces Squadron bravo team lead, sends a picture message to Deanna Vogt after the birth of his son, Declan, in Mississippi, June 29, 2019. Vogt and Cuff travelled together from Baltimore, Maryland, to Jackson, Mississippi, after several flight delays and shared a rental car to get the rest of the way home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)
In the Armed Forces, many service members will miss holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, funerals and other special or unique occasions.
Staff Sgt. David Cuff, 821st Security Forces Squadron bravo flight lead, almost missed the birth of his second child in the United States, as he is currently deployed to Thule Air Base, Greenland.
Cuff had it all planned out. He was going to take his paternity leave in conjunction with his 30-day, mid-tour leave. However, those of us in the military know that things do not always go our way.
“We had a mission to do, so my time off got cut short,” Cuff said. “I was only able to take my paternity leave of 21 days.”
His wife, Clarissa, was due to have a baby boy on July 3, 2019. Cuff was on a flight home June 28.
Bad news and inclement weather hit after he landed in Baltimore, Maryland, a long way from home in Long Beach, Mississippi.
“My plane was delayed to Charlotte, South Carolina,” Cuff said. “More delays popped up and I realized I wouldn’t make my connecting flight to Gulfport, Mississippi.”
Cuff had already missed his first child’s, Clara, second birthday a week prior and didn’t want to cut it too close to his son’s due date.
The airline attendants at the counter hired him a taxi to Washington, D.C., to catch a connecting flight to Texas before heading to Mississippi.
Cuff wasn’t the only one wanting to go home; he soon found another passenger that was trying to get home too.
Both Cuff and Deanna Vogt travelled in a taxi together to Washington, D.C., to start their journey home to Mississippi.
“When we got to D.C., we were late,” Cuff said. “The doors were closed, and they were planning to take off in ten minutes.”
Good news came again in the form of a short delay. An hour became three — they were going to miss their connecting flight out of Texas.
Their flight schedule then changed, sending them to Jackson, Mississippi — only three hours from home.
Cuff and Vogt rented a car for the last leg of their trip. Throughout their car ride, Cuff’s wife, Clarissa, called a few times to check in on them.
Ten minutes from Cuff’s house, he received another call from his wife.
“I answer it thinking it is just another concerned call asking where I was,” Cuff said. “Clarissa’s water broke. I told her, ‘Baby, I am on my way.’”
Baby Declan was born on June 29, 2019 at 10:24 a.m., nine hours after his father arrived home.
“I knew I needed to get home and not wait another day for the weather to clear up,” Cuff said. “I don’t know why I had this feeling, but it worked out and I was able to see my son being born.”
Cuff had more good news when he was on his way back to Thule. He learned that he was selected for technical sergeant and will be pinning on next year.