Angel Flight Brings Home Marine and Dad-to-Be

One U.S. marine is hoping he'll experience joy before being deployed.

Twenty-two-year-old Lee O'Connor is on the threshold of being deployed to the Middle East while his wife is perhaps hours from giving birth to their first child, an event he may be able to witness thanks to Angel Flight.

Stephen O'Connor is watching the skies hoping to catch a glimpse of an angel. Actually an angel flight, carrying his son home from Camp Lejune, North Carolina.

Stephen says, "We didn't think he was going to be here. We were afraid he was going to miss one of the greatest events in his life."

Finally, touching down on the tarmac, the plane taxis toward Stephen, inside is Lance Corporal Lee O'Connor home to witness the birth of his first child.

Lee is a third generation marine, but before being deployed to the Middle East he wanted to be here to welcome his son into the world. That's where Angel Flight pilot Rodney Swanson comes in.

Home for just 96 hours, Lee O'Connor must report back to duty Monday morning.

Stephen’s father adds, "Mother asked him about leaving the baby being born. He looked her dead in the eye and said, Mom, that's what I signed up for."

For now this father and son will wait for mother nature to take her course and make this marine one proud papa. Angel Flight is a unique grassroots non-profit organization run by the power of private pilots and their aircraft. It is more than 20 years old and has nearly 1,000 pilots.

This was pilot Rodney Swanson’s second Angel Flight mission. The O'Connor family says they will call as soon as Stephen Lee O'Connor, III is born.