By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A viral photo tugging at heartstrings across the world shows a U.S. Marine from New York holding a baby amid the chaos in Afghanistan.

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reports, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for his family.

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The worry ramped up immediately for military mom Meryl Jaffe when President Joe Biden announced last week he was deploying more troops to Afghanistan.

“My heart sank, and I was, oh my goodness. Is that going to be my child?” Jaffe told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

She had a sinking feeling her son, 27-year-old Sgt. Matthew Jaffe, a machine gunner in the Marines, would be sent from Kuwait.

But her family didn’t know for sure until her daughter saw a picture on Instagram days later.

“‘Mom, I think this is Matthew,’ and I looked, and I was like, oh my goodness, that’s him,” Jaffe said.

The photo captured a moment of warmth and compassion in a war zone.

Her smiling Marine, who grew up on the Upper West Side, calmly cradling a baby in the middle of chaos at the airport in Kabul.

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Sgt. Matthew Jaffe was photographed holding a baby in Afghanistan in August 2021. (Credit: Department of Defense)

“It was like, oh my god, thank god. We see his face, he’s OK and, you know, we see that smile and it really comforted us,” Jaffe said. “Just very proud of him.”

The picture went viral.

Matthew told his mom he was shocked in one of just a few brief text messages he’s been able to send.

Another told them he was OK after Thursday’s attack that killed 13 troops.

“Our hearts break for the military families, yeah. Because that could be us, and we know that, and it’s just been very hard,” Jaffe said.

Sgt. Jaffe previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq, but his mom says this deployment is by far his most dangerous.

She says her family is trying to stay busy and positive, counting down the days until that Aug. 31 deadline in hopes the mission is safely accomplished by then.

The baby in the photo was reportedly reunited with their parents.

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Sgt. Jaffe’s family hopes he’s out of Afghanistan next week and expects him back in the U.S. by October.

Andrea Grymes