Capt. Gregory Veteto, the company commander of Company A., 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Ground Combat Element, punts a football sent by his wife revealing the gender of his baby, Nov. 01, 2017.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Finding out the gender of a new baby is a special moment for both mom and dad.
These days, not everyone relies on a sonogram to learn if they are having a boy or a girl.
"Gender reveal” parties with a blue or pink balloon release, cakes that show the gender by color and piñatas that explode with pink or blue confetti are some ways that expectant parents find out what sex their newborn will be.
Members of the military are often faced a unique challenge because they are stationed in another state or overseas and can’t attend a party with their spouse or significant other and share in the fun.
Captain Gregory Veteto, a U.S. Marine commander from Camp Pendleton in Southern California, was stationed overseas when his wife Shanelle and 16-month old son, Samuel back home on Camp Pendleton, found out they would be getting a new addition to the family.
The commander’s wife wanted to surprise him with the announcement of the baby's gender by revealing it in a unique way. After brainstorming with a friend, her husband’s career as a punter in college sparked inspiration.
She decided to fill a football with colored powder, and when her husband punted it, the football would explode with either pink or blue powder.
"I was a terrible punter," Gregory Veteto said. “She told me, 'don't screw it up.' I just didn't want to miss the ball."
Surrounded by the cheering Marines and sailors, he lined up and took aim.
Kicking the ball right on target, the pink powder explored, letting the commander know he’d be a dad to a baby girl.
"It was fantastic breaking open the football," he said. "The Marines were excited about it and I appreciated that."
The commander and his wife did a similar gender reveal for their son, but instead of breaking open a football, they cut into a cake.
"Our mothers-in-law made a cake that was blue on the inside," he said.
Reminiscing about his son, the Marine looked forward to the birth of Madeline Grace and spoke of the day his daughter will be able to look back at the photos of the special way his wife and his fellow Marines found out about her.
"Thinking now, it is a pretty cool gift for my daughter, that she will get to see her dad and all the men around him were already celebrating her life before her birth," he said.