Technology has made great strides, but its evolution and capabilities gave one couple the chance of a lifetime: to be together for their child's birth while being apart, half a world away.
Eddy Gossett is a 2001 graduate of Sweetwater High School. Only a month after graduating, on July 30, 2001, Gossett joined the United States Marine Corps and underwent recruit training.
He has been with the Marines for almost 11 years, and he is currently on his fourth deployment in Afghanistan with the 1st Maintenance Battalion as Assistant Convoy Commander and Platoon Sergeant.
While in Afghanistan, Gossett said that he and his wife Christyn, a native of Tahoka, TX, utilized their iPads and used the FaceTime application, which allows users to make video calls from any location, through a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection.
But on June 19, 2012, while he was heading back to his living area at a Forward Operation Base, Gossett found out in an email that his wife went into labor. Though they were almost 10 hours apart, he was able to witness the birth of his son through FaceTime with limited Internet connection drops (sometimes, for operational security reasons, the connection will be lost).
Maximus Meridius Gossett was born at 3:09 p.m. that day at the Medical Center of Plano in Plano, Texas, weighing in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20 and a half inches long.
Eddy and Christyn also have an eighteen-month-old daughter, Zaeni Leigh Gossett.
He said he was first introduced to these types of capabilities during his third deployment in Iraq in 2009 with the Combat Logistics Battalion 46 as Security Team Leader. Through the use of Skype, an Internet software system that allows users to make video and voice calls across the globe, he said it made his time during his deployment easier by being able to keep contact with his family.
Gossett's first two deployments took place while he was on active duty. From 2002-2003, he was stationed in Okinawa with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle Crewman; in 2004, Gossett served in Iraq with the 2nd Battalion 7th Marines as an Infantryman Fireteam Leader. The latter two tours Gossett served, again in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, were after he joined the Marine Corps Reserve in Lubbock.
But technology has also given Gossett another opportunity. During his training and deployments, he is working on his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration through the American Intercontinental University Online. He is currently a junior with around a year of classes left.
"I wish I was there to help my wife more, play with my daughter, and to hold my new son," Gossett shared in an email, "but FaceTime definitely helps a lot with being away."
"I cannot express how having a way to somewhat feel like I was there with my family, especially while my wife was giving birth to my son, really makes me appreciate today's technology."
Gossett is the son of Eithel and Marlyn Gage and John and Bonnie Smith, all of Sweetwater.
He has one sister, Mary Gage of Abilene and her daughter, Delylla and her late son, DeMarcus and one brother, Tommy and wife Halie Gage of Sweetwater. He also has several step siblings, Clint and wife Jessica Parks of Sweetwater and their child, Kassandra, David and wife Melissa Crow of Big Spring and their daughters, Abie and Katie, Claude Speed of Sweetwater and his daughter, Melanie, Don and wife Kendra Cobb of Abilene and their sons, Bryson and Brantley, Stephanie and husband Marcus Alexander and their son, Zavian and expecting another baby. Christyn’s siblings include Andrew and wife Lisa Chapa of Frisco and their son, Mitchell and daughters, Jori and Alexis.