Welcome home, daddy

SAN DIEGO – Lt. Jeremy Rodrigues, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve member, feeds his son, Aiden, for the first time after Aiden and Rodrigues’ wife, Marcela, flew into the San Diego International Airport to meet him, Dec. 12, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli.

 

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli

When he was first mobilized and sent overseas, Lt. Jeremy Rodrigues, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, knew he would be leaving behind Marcela, his wife of 10 months, but was unaware that she was not the only one he was leaving behind. 

For seven months Rodrigues was deployed to the Middle East with the U.S. Navy’s Coastal Riverine Squadron Eleven (CORIVRON 11). CORIVRON 11 was deployed as Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.7, which exercised command and control to defend high value naval assets and provided sustained security to designated maritime infrastructure in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

 

SAN DIEGO – Lt. Jeremy Rodrigues, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve member, holds his newborn son, Aiden close after he and Rodrigues’ wife flew into the San Diego International Airport to meet him, Dec. 12, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli.

“When I left I had no idea we were going to have a baby,” said Rodrigues, a Modesto, Calif., native. “She went through the entire pregnancy and birth without me there, and that was the toughest part about this whole thing. It’s a first time experience for both of us, and I just wanted to be there for my wife.”

While overseas Rodrigues was able to observe Marcela’s pregnancy and offer his support using web-based video chat programs, however his deployment prevented him from being present for the birth of their son in October.

Since Rodrigues, a foreign affairs officer with the U.S. Department of State, lives in Washington D.C., with Marcela, he had to wait a few days to be reunited with his wife and meet his newborn son after he and two others returned from the deployment.

Finally, on Dec. 12, 2012, Rodrigues waited eagerly and anxiously at an arrival gate at the San Diego International Airport where we would be reunited with Marcela and meet his first-born child, six-week-old Aiden, for the first time.

 After kissing and hugging his wife, Rodrigues’ eyes were drawn to Aiden and Aiden’s to his dad. Rodrigues took Aiden in his arms for the first time and kissed his forehead. Decked out in a shirt reading “My hero wears combat boots,” Aiden smiled up at his dad.

Walking through the airport in uniform, holding and feeding his newborn son, Rodrigues was met with smiles from strangers and comments ranging from ‘welcome home’ to ‘thank you for your service’.

Rodrigues wasn’t used to how much Aiden moved around just yet. Marcela watched as her husband worked to figure out the best way to hold his new son, gently reminding him to hold his neck since his muscles weren’t strong enough to hold up his head yet.

After about 20 minutes with his son Rodrigues was beaming from ear to ear, “he’s like a rodeo, but this beats video chat any day!”

The Rodrigues family will spend the holidays together with their extended family in San Diego before heading back to the east coast.

Once he’s home, Rodrigues plans to continue his work with the Department of State and will also be continuing his education since he was recently selected by the Coast Guard to attend graduate school at the National Intelligence University in Washington, D.C. 

After joining the Coast Guard in 2001 as a port security specialist, Rodrigues has spent the majority of his career in law enforcement, serving at the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team and Maritime Safety and Security Team in San Diego in addition to CORIVRON 11.

Rodrigues is assigned to CORIVRON 11, based in Seal Beach, Calif, under an agreement between the Coast Guard Deployable Operations Group and the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. Each reserve Coastal Riverine Squadron is augmented by Coast Guard subject matter experts as part of an ongoing professional exchange between the two services.

  

 

 

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