March 31, 2003 -- ABOARD THE USS CONSTELLATION - Firefighter John Gormley went from toiling in Ground Zero rubble to preparing for war in the Gulf - but all the real action for him was at home.

The Bronx firefighter's wife, Kathleen, gave birth to their third child at White Plains Hospital on Friday - after Gormley, a Navy reservist, had already been deployed to the aircraft carrier USS Constellation in the Gulf.

"It was tough going through [the delivery] without John," Kathleen Gormley, 37, said. "I put a picture of John in the baby's basket to show him his father. Everyone seems to think he looks like his daddy."

Although they're oceans apart, John did manage to call the hospital an hour after son Kevin William was born.

"He was sad that he wasn't here, but overjoyed and very emotional over the phone," Kathleen said of her hubby, also 37.

"John's just anxious to see [his new son]. This is the first birth he missed. We're just glad the baby is healthy."

The pair's two other children are John Jr., 2, and Katlyn, 5.

Gormley, an FDNY lieutenant with Ladder Co. 34 on West 161st Street, was off duty when the Twin Towers were attacked on 9/11 but rushed to the site after they collapsed.

He joined New York's Bravest in 1996, after serving eight years as a navigator in the Navy.

Called up and now stationed aboard the Constellation, Gormley has already flown four times across Iraq, as the ship pushes farther into the northern Persian Gulf as part of the 5th Fleet.

He also has painted "Engine 84/Ladder 34, FDNY, Washington Heights" on the side of the bomb-laden F-14 Tomcat fighter jet he navigates.

"I have such vivid memories with me here of what happened on [9/11]," Gormley said. "And now I can try and make sure the people responsible don't get the chance to do it again with weapons of mass destruction."

Kathleen Gormley holds baby Kevin, who was born after his daddy got called up to the USS Constellation in the Gulf.
- Dan Cronin