Stefanie Fulcher watches as her husband, Capt. Tarik Fulcher, embraces their young daughter, Ivy, 20 months, at a homecoming ceremony for 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldiers Saturday at Fort Hood. Stefanie is pregnant with the couple’s second child, a girl due in September
Families and friends wait with signs to welcome home loved ones serving with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Saturday morning at Fort Hood. The soldiers spent the past year on an advise-and-assist mission in Iraq.
By Rebecca Rose
Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD — Evelyn Reese Fulcher.

That’s the name Capt. Tarik Kharhay Fulcher picked out for his soon-to-be-born baby daughter.

The commander of Killer Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, hasn’t seen his wife, or their daughter Ivy Elizabeth, 20 months, since he was home for Christmas.

He didn’t know his wife was pregnant until he saw a picture of the pregnancy test she emailed him.

That was a little over seven months ago.

At Saturday’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment homecoming at Fort Hood, Stefanie Fulcher clutched her daughter to her hip, hovering close to the main door of the tent. Her eyes were fixed on the doors where the soldiers returning from Iraq were set to come out.

Even at 8½ months pregnant, she refused to sit. She was just too excited.

“My motivation is that he was coming home today,” Stefanie said. “Everybody’s ready for him to be home. Today is it.”

Stefanie found out she was pregnant as soon as her husband returned to Iraq after his Christmas leave.

“I was checking, just to see if I was pregnant,” she said. “The last test came back positive, and I sent him a picture of the stick,”

The couple talked on Skype every day. Tarik was always concerned about his wife and how she was feeling. He wanted to know all the details about her pregnancy, like if she was having morning sickness and other things a father is eager to find out.

“He wanted a boy,” said Stefanie, laughing.

The couple, married for two years now, met through mutual friends in Atlanta. They wed as soon as Tarik returned from his last deployment. This was their first deployment as a married couple.

But Stefanie isn’t entirely unfamiliar with the rigorous demands of military life. She joined the National Guard in 2008; a role she said helps her somewhat in understanding what her husband is going through.

“It’s a lot easier to handle, because I know what to expect,” she said. “But it still has its exciting moments. Moments where you just have to stand back and be a spouse and be supportive, and not have on my green suit.”

“That is probably the most challenging thing to me,” Fulcher said.

“I’m excited. I’m ready for him to come home,” she said as she waited. “So we can go get some breakfast and he can see the house, and he can see the dogs, and I can pass on the baton.”

When the crowds shouted “dismissed!” in unison, Tarik ran to grab his wife and daughter for a long embrace. He took Ivy in his arms and kissed her.

“I picked out this (baby’s) name,” Tarik said, beaming at his pregnant wife with a huge smile. “I just thought it up myself.”

“My wife did a good job,” the returning father said.

3rd Armored Cavalry returns

Flights carrying large groups of troops began returning to Fort Hood earlier this month. They will continue their return though this month.

More than 250 soldiers from a mix of different squadrons in the regiment returned Saturday, after spending a year in Iraq.

The soldiers are being welcomed home at the parade field east of regimental headquarters at Fort Hood.

The regiment provides a 24-hour homecoming hotline at (254) 553-3269 or (254) 288-5557. Soldiers manning the hotlines are authorized to answer limited questions, but will direct further questions toward the regiment’s family readiness support assistants, according to information from the 3rd Armored Cavalry.

Loved ones designated as contacts by a soldier will receive notification of the troops’ arrivals about 72 hours before their return.

Families will be directed on how to properly seek visitors passes from the Marvin Leath Visitors Center. Signs will direct drivers to the ceremony site. The site is located across the street from Mabry Hall on Battalion Avenue and between the Fairbanks Dental Clinic and Shoppette.

Friends and families of the regiment are encouraged to park directly behind regimental headquarters or adjacent to Sabre Squadron’s headquarters, Mabry Hall. Bleachers are located in an air-conditioned tent.