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May 03, 2011 05:47 PM

Soldiers Welcomed By Bigger Families

Sioux Falls, SD


Six of the 200 South Dakota National Guard soldiers who came home from their year-long deployment to Afghanistan Tuesday had newborns waiting for them.

Staff Sergeant Robert Schmidt is one of the soldiers who was focusing his attention on his new child.

"It's pretty nice. She's grown quite a bit over the last five months and a lot of changing and just want to try and catch up on the time lost," Schmidt said.

The proud father was quick to show off five-month-old Kamille, born halfway through his year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

"It's been a long time coming. Obviously with a four and a half year old, and a five month old.  Haven't seen my wife and the rest of my family for much of the last year, just a lot of joy," Schmidt said.

"What a great feeling. It was a long year, and a lot of changes, and a lot of different things that happened," Schmidt's wife, Patty, said.

Staff Sergeant Schmidt was able to watch the birth of his daughter over the internet and come home for a few days a week after she was born. But he says there's nothing like being home for good and holding his daughter in his arms.

"Just spending time with the family.  Getting everybody to know each other again and getting back to where we were before we left," Schmidt said. 

Picking up where he left off with his bigger family is what Schmidt is looking forward to most now that he's back on U.S. soil.
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