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Baby’s first photos have connection to fallen soldier father

She never will be able to meet her father, but he will always be part of her life. 

Christian Michelle Harris was born after her father gave his life for his country.

Army Spc. Chris Harris was killed on Aug. 2 by a suicide bomber, six weeks after Christian’s mother, Brittany Harris, found out she was pregnant. 

>> Read more trending news 

She was born March 17, the “Today” show reported and was named after her father: Christopher Michael Harris.

Despite his death, Chris Harris and the Army have been part of little Christian’s life from even before she was born. 

Brittany Harris called in her husband’s platoon to help reveal the baby’s gender. She sent his fellow soldiers, the men that he considered his brothers, confetti poppers to help announce whether she was having a boy or a girl. 

>>Read: Soldiers help with gender reveal for the baby of one of their fallen

One of the servicemen, Joel Crunk, posted with the gender reveal video, “Chris Harris laid down his life for our country. His newly wed wife was expecting their first child. The reveal is in Afghanistan with the men who fought by his side. We are happy to welcome the new member of our company.”

Now Harris is memorializing the connection between father and daughter with a series of newborn photos that will break your heart,  “Today” reported.

Christian was photographed next to a photo of her father and his empty boots sitting nearby. 

A second photo shows the little girl sleeping next to the flag that was given to her mother at their Fayetteville, North Carolina home, after her father died.

In the third photo, the newborn is wrapped in his camouflage shirt, the arm of the uniform wrapped around Chris Harris’ little girl. 

“As soon as I saw the very first preview of the photos, I cried,” Brittany Harris told “Today. “The picture of Christian wrapped with Chris’ uniform is my favorite. It makes me feel like he’s holding her.”

Brittany Harris wants to make sure Christian never forgets the hero her father was.

“I want her to light up and smile when she talks about him instead of feeling sad that he’s not here. I want her to always brag about who her father was and the sacrifice he made,” Brittany Harris told “Today.”

 

LOOK: Thief steals donation jar filled with money meant for veteran

A tip jar with almost $900 for a veteran in need was stolen right off the front counter of an auto body shop this week.

>> Watch the video here

Erving Severino, the owner of Independent Import Specialist in Lawrence, Massachusetts, said the money was being raised for a veteran in his 70s, in Puerto Rico, who lost everything during Hurricane Irma. The money was supposed to buy the man's plane ticket to the United States and pay for his health benefits. 

>> Read more trending news 

However, the jar was snatched off the counter in a matter of seconds.

Security footage shows a crystal-clear image of the suspect's face, so Severino is begging the public to identify the thief, saying he will not press charges if the money is returned. 

The veteran is expected to land in the U.S. on April 14.

Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact the Lawrence Police Department at 978-794-5900.

Army, Air Force, Navy: Student receives appointments from 3 academies; which did she choose?

A senior at Glynn Academy High School, in Brunswick, Georgia, has received appointments for three military academies.

The mother of 18-year-old Bliss Hutchings tells Action News Jax, she received appointments to the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and U.S. Military Academy.

>> Read more trending news 

Admissions into all three branches are extremely competitive, according to Prep Scholar. The acceptance rates for the U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy is nine percent, meaning nine of every 100 applicants are accepted. Acceptance rate of the Air Force is 14 percent.

"This is largely unheard of," mother Shayna Hutchings-Dragotta said.

Hutchings has chosen the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Travis AFB: Driver dead after gaining 'unauthorized access' to base's main gate, crashing

Officials at Travis Air Force Base in California say a car gained “unauthorized access” to the base’s main gate and later crashed.

>> Read more trending news 

Wreckage of WWII warship the 5 Sullivan brothers served on discovered

The wreckage of a World War II warship, whose crew fatalities included five brothers, was found in the South Pacific Ocean, KWWL reported.

>> Read more trending news

The USS Juneau was torpedoed by the Japanese and sank near the Solomon Islands on Nov. 13, 1942, with nearly 700 sailors killed.

The Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa -- George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert -- enlisted together after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and requested to serve on the same ship, KWWL reported.

The ship was discovered Saturday night, nearly 3 miles below the ocean’s surface, by a team privately funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, KWWL reported. It was the third ship Allen’s company has found within a year

"It is a remarkable discovery. It is a ship people have been looking for for a long time," said Sam LaGrone, the editor of the U.S. Naval Institute News. 

"The fact that you were able to find this ship and the fact that you found the USS Lexington and the USS Indianapolis; all of these historic ships, found by just one crew in a short amount of time is revelatory," LaGrone said "It is a banner day for oceanography and for people just getting up and doing it themselves because these ships have been missing for almost 80 years."

The discovery team will notify the U.S. Navy with the exact location of the ship, KWWL reported.

Albert Sullivan’s granddaughter, Kelly Ann Sullivan Loughren, released a statement Monday, noting that the Sullivan family “is thinking and praying for all of the families of all who lost loved ones” on the USS Juneau.

“It's poignant that they discovered it on the 75th anniversary year of the loss of the ship and also on St. Patrick's Day,” she said. “The luck of the Irish was with their crew on discovery day.”

A Navy destroyer, USS The Sullivans, was named for the brothers.

2 Florida airmen among 7 killed in Iraq helicopter crash

Two Florida airmen were among seven killed in a helicopter crash Thursday in Iraq.

Master Sgt. William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida, and Staff Sgt. Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee belonged to the 308th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base.

They were on a HH-60 Pave Hawk with five other airmen when it crashed Thursday in western Iraq.

>> Read more trending news 

Enis and Posch were serving in combat roles, as they had before on multiple overseas deployments during their Air Force careers, according to a release from the 920th Rescue Wing.

Posch was an 18-year Air Force veteran who was recently part of a rescue mission at sea to save two German sailors whose sailboat caught fire last July.

He deployed for multiple rescue missions in Texas during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Posch's family and friends shared photos of him on social media, saying he was a father.

Four airmen assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York, were also killed:

  • Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
  • Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
  • Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
  • Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.

Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, was also killed in the crash. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

The Pave Hawk went down at 6:45 p.m. Thursday near the town of Qaim in Anbar Province near the Syrian border.

The helicopter was on a routine flight between two towns, according to officials quoted by The Associated Press and Stars and Stripes.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement about the airmen's deaths on Sunday: 

"The loss of Master Sgt. William R. Posch, Staff Sgt. Carl Enis and their fellow armed service members is devastating. The deaths of these brave men serve as a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and commitment made by our nation’s military to secure and protect the freedom we all cherish as Americans. Ann and I know Staff Sgt. Enis’ family personally, and we grieve with them today. I ask that every Floridian pause to remember Master Sgt. William R. Posch and Staff Sgt. Enis and all of those lost in this tragedy.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Airmen’s small talk, jokes during air refueling goes viral

You’re flying at hundreds of miles an hour, thousands of feet above the Earth. What would you be doing while two planes are tethered during a refueling run?

You’d be totally serious, during the maneuvers. Or you could take the lead from Senior Airman Jordan Smith, who has a tendency to lighten the mood when he’s filling up fighters from his flying gas station in the sky, according to the Defense Department.

>> Read more trending news 

Smith is a member of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and is a crew member on a KC-10. He’s also known as the crew’s chef or the pizza guy who cooks for his crew while they’re in the air.

He will crack jokes or have riddles for the pilots of F-22s as they wait to top off their fuel tanks, according to the Defense Department.

They also talk about what they miss while on deployment, like Chick-fil-A.

Click here to listen to some of the other banter between crew members aboard the two planes.

Wreckage of World War II carrier USS Lexington found in Coral Sea

Wreckage from the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, sunk by the Japanese during the Battle of the Coral Sea in World War II, has been discovered off the Australian coast.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Read more trending news 

A team of explorers led by billionaire Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, made the announcement Monday.

>> On WHIO.com: Listen as crew of R/V Petrel discovers the wreckage

According to CNN, the wreckage was found in the Coral Sea by the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel.

>> Nor’easter uncovers Revolutionary War-era shipwreck in Maine

The aircraft carrier, dubbed the “Lady Lex,” was lost in May 1942, along with 216 crew members and 35 aircraft, during what historians consider the first carrier battle in history. More than 2,000 crew members were rescued.

NC war veteran honored on 100th birthday

The Durham Veterans Administration threw a big party for a North Carolina veteran on her 100th birthday.

>> Read more trending news

Millie Veasey was a member of the only all-black, all-female battalion to serve overseas during World War II, where she was stationed in England and France.

When Veasey returned home, she earned a college degree and became the first female president of Raleigh's NAACP chapter.

In 2016, President Barack Obama recognized her service.

She said her faith helped her reach the century milestone after enlisting during the Jim Crow era.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,” she said. “Where there is hatred, let me show love. Where there is injury, pardon.”

Veasey will be honored this weekend with a luncheon at her alma mater, St. Augustine's College in Raleigh.

Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games

UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will  air the AFC and NFC Championship games.

>> Read more trending news 

The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown. 

ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.

>> Watch the news report here

There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.

Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday

Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue. 

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.

"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.

For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.

"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.

With no one to run it, AFN is off the air. 

>> John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.

Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.

Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.

However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats. 

Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.

"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.

Read more here.

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