Soldier returns home to Myrtle Beach, meets newborn daughter for the first time

Updated: Jul. 25, 2020 at 9:08 AM CDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A soldier received a warm welcome home Friday afternoon at Myrtle Beach International Airport, but there was one particular person he really wanted to see.

National Guard Specialist Conner Smith got to meet his newborn daughter for the very first time.

For the past 9 months, Smith has been holding the steering wheel of a tank in Kuwait. But on Friday, he got to hold his six-month-old daughter Lilliana.

“It’s awesome. Probably the best feeling I’ve had so far. Greatest feeling,” Smith said.

Meeting his daughter was especially emotional given what he and his fiancé, Kristen, have gone through the past few years.

“I was diagnosed with ovarian failure, so we thought I was never going to be able to have children,” Kristen said.

They found out Kristen was pregnant just three months before Smith was deployed for his first tour overseas.

But the meeting with his daughter was delayed a little bit due to the coronavirus. He had to quarantine for two weeks in Dallas before coming home.

“It sucked, but we got to order food. We didn’t have to eat DEFAC food anymore, so it wasn’t too bad,” Smith said.

On top of meeting his daughter for the first time, Operation Welcome Home came to the airport wearing red, white and blue with American flags in hand so they could thank him for his service and make his homecoming a little more special.

“I didn’t think it was going to be anything like this. I thought it was just going to be a little group, but I like it,” Smith said.

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