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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - Sgt. William Hamrick II witnessed the birth of his daughter Monday. That may seem unremarkable - except that Hamrick was 6,000 miles away in Iraq.

When doctors induced labor Monday morning at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg, Hamrick was virtually at his wife's side via live Internet video and satellite audio link.

The 25-year-old soldier could see and hear everything as it happened in the hospital room. The satellite audio link let him talk his wife through the contractions. And at 4:04 p.m. in West Virginia, just after midnight in Baghdad, he was able to watch as Elaina Jo Hamrick came into the world.

Angela Hamrick could only hear her husband, but she had a framed photo of him at her bedside.

"Just being able to hear his voice was well worth it," the new mom said. "I knew he was around me somehow."

Hamrick has been serving in Iraq for eight months as a heavy equipment operator with the Army Reserve's 463rd Charlie Company's Engineering Battalion.

His wife back home in Parkersburg had asked the hospital if there was some way he could see pictures of his daughter's birth.

"I didn't know it was going to go this far," she said.

Hospital information specialists put the system together at no cost to the family and talked to the Army to set everything up, said hospital spokesman Greg Smith.

Hamrick, a construction worker, said he was excited to see his family. Before the birth, while he and his wife talked, their 2-year-old son Chance came in to say hello to his dad.

"I did kind of wish I was home," Hamrick told WSAZ-TV in a brief interview over the satellite audio link. "Sometimes there's not a whole lot we can do about it."

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