An Oklahoma soldier who returned home on Tuesday has a deadline to go back to Iraq, but first there's an even more urgent matter at home. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports soldiers in Iraq can come home on leave, but they usually don't get to pick the date. A soldier from Okmulgee had the date set for him by his wife and son.
Tonia Cruze knows something about expecting. She's been waiting five months for this day when her husband could come home from Iraq. She's expecting their first child next week.
"It's tough. It's hard. It's hard. It's tough with all the worries and everything," said Tonia Cruze.
Private First Class Christopher Cruze is part of a combat support battalion in the Oklahoma National Guard.
"Our mission is vital to what's going on Iraq today about building up Iraq, helping them to stand on their own two feet so hopefully we can get home quicker," said Pfc. Chris Cruze.
Now that's he's home for two weeks, Cruze has to focus on building a crib, taking care of his wife in the last week of the pregnancy, and preparing to become a father.
It's a switch from the daily grind of the war which is a long way from family.
"But that's a problem we always face as soldiers because we all have families at home important to us, but we also have a duty to this country to stand up and serve when we are called, especially the National Guard," said Pfc. Chris Cruze.
The couple was able to stay in touch by email, and coordinate an early leave so he could be home for the delivery.
"If he's not here by the due date, he's induced so he will be here before his daddy goes back," said Tonia Cruze.
The Cruzes have named their son Chaseton. The baby's due on May 5th. That's next Monday, right in the middle of the leave, so at the most Chris will have a week with the new baby before he goes back.