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Two U.S. Sailors Come Home as Fathers - 2003-04-16


The U.S. Aircraft carrier Constellation - with a crew of more than five thousand sailors and marines - has been in the Persian Gulf since the beginning of this year. But it finally will be arriving home in a few weeks. A lot changed in Iraq, and a lot changed at home for some of the crew. There are two sailors aboard the Constellation who got an early look at their new babies, who were born since their voyage began. Margaret Kennedy has the story:

NATURAL SOUND MAN COMING DOWN LADDER

Chris Lopez works on jet engines on the Constellation.

Dary Sampy is a security officer on board. Both are fathers of children born since they were deployed from San Diego last November.

Reporters Mike Terrel and Steve Walker from the San Diego television station KNSD came here to report on the war, but they also brought sailors Lopez and Sampy a first look at their newborns. It was Steve Walker’s idea.

STEVE WALKER
“We heard that a lot of babies are always born on deployments. Turns out that this deployment alone so far, 80 have been born.”

It wasn’t difficult to find families with new babies. Chris Lopez’ wife Alana has been counting the days. Showing off Baby Sarah, she was proud, but lonesome…

ALANA LOPEZ
“Waking up without him and just going through the day without him.”

The reporters found Chris Lopez at work and invited him to see his baby on the biggest TV they could find on the ship.

NATURAL SOUND TAPE GOING INTO A MACHINE

NATURAL SOUND ALANA LOPEZ SPEAKING (ON VIDEO)
“Say, hi, Daddy, we love you, can’t wait to see you.”

CHRIS LOPEZ
“She’s really beautiful, you know. I would like to get home as soon as possible. But first I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. I just want to tell her that I love her. I’ll be back home soon.

Dary Sampy Junior had his turn separately. His wife Seanette said he had heard the baby, Dary Sampy the Third on the phone….

SEANETTE SAMPY
“He was crying. And he heard him on the phone, and he got real quiet… My husband did… and I think he got a little emotional or something.”

DARY SAMPY
“Yeah, I remember that day. I just couldn’t believe… I’d seen pictures … but I never actually heard him. And then it came into reality. That’s my boy. That’s my boy.”

NATURAL SOUND TAPE GOING INTO A MACHINE

NATURAL SOUND SEANETTE SAMPY SPEAKING (on video)
Hey Dary, just looking forward to the day you come home.”

NATURAL SOUND OF DARY SAMPY SPEAKING
“It’s a boy. I always wanted a boy.”

Reporters Terrel and Walker took a break from reporting on the progress of the war to share the video with the folks back home in San Diego. For Mike Terrel, it was more than a regular day on the job.

TERREL
“One of Lopez’ friends came up to me and asked to shake my hand. He said ‘I just want to say thank you. We couldn’t get the smile off his face for the next couple of hours’ You’re getting (to) me… It’s just something in my heart now.”

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