Army Spc. Tracey Bovee is in the midst of his second tour in Iraq, but on this Veterans Day, he could not have asked for a better visit to the homefront.
Bovee, 23, a Gilbert resident and 2006 graduate of Mesa’s Skyline High School, made it home in time to be with his wife Elizabeth for the birth of their first child Thursday at Banner Ironwood Medical Center in San Tan Valley.
After more than 18 hours of labor, at 6:02 p.m. Elizabeth gave birth to Allie Faye, a baby girl weighing in at 7 pounds 9 ounces with a little bit of dark brown fuzz on her head. Labor was induced at midnight for the birth that was originally due Nov. 17.
“It was pretty exciting,” the proud father said. “It went pretty smoothly. It’s pretty incredible. I’ve heard about guys who weren’t able to be home in time for the birth of their children and I feel pretty lucky to be able to be home for this.”
Allie Faye could be heard in the background over the phone, crying and screaming, trying out her new lungs on Friday.
“She’s a little fussy right now,” Bovee laughingly said.
Bovee, who serves on a tank crew, was in the Salahad Din province of Iraq until last month. He and his crew now are stationed in Kuwait. He said they’ll be deployed there until sometime next year before he returns to Fort Hood, Texas, where he is stationed.
Bovee, who has a two-week furlough, arrived in Arizona on Nov. 6, and he said he plans to rest and relax “as best as I can” the remainder of his time here.
Tracey and Elizabeth Bovee have been married 2 1/2 years, and Tracey has been in the Army for four. He first was deployed to Iraq in August 2009, and re-deployed in May.
Elizabeth, 21, is a 2008 graduate of Mesa’s Skyline High School and currently a stay-at-home mom. She said she was “relieved” when Tracey made it home in time for Allie Faye’s arrival.
“It’s a big sense of relief,” she said. “It was pretty stressful knowing there would be the possibility that he may not make it home in time.”
Both Tracey’s and Elizabeth’s parents live in the area to enjoy their grandchild as well.
“It’s been good to have a strong support system,” Elizabeth Bovee said. “With him being gone, I don’t think I could’ve done this on my own if I would have been in Texas.”
Mother and Allie were expecting to be released from the hospital on Saturday and Tracey is scheduled to return to Kuwait on Nov. 21.
“I wish he could stay longer,” Elizabeth said.
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