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Father sees daughter for first time at homecoming

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The first of the troops from the 45th Infantry Brigade who deployed to Kuwait returned home Thursday. Over 170 soldiers from the Oklahoma Army National Guard arrived at the Will Rogers Air National Guard base Thursday morning.

Stephanie Ainesworth was waiting for her husband with their 3-week-old daughter, Kacey.

Kacey has never met her daddy.

“We thought he was going to be able to be home to see the birth because he was home for Christmas and they were supposed to come home in February,” Ainesworth said.

Specialist Dustin Ainsworth’s trip home was delayed.

Lieutenant Colonel Max Moss with the 45th said the soldiers sent to Kuwait operated in a vital contingency role.

“They performed convoy security operations in and out of Kuwait during the past nine months and did an absolutely terrific job,” Lt. Col. Moss said.

When Spc. Ainesworth finally saw his daughter for the first time, he was nearly speechless.

“Unbelievable,” Spc. Ainesworth said. “It’s… I don’t know, really.”

The 22-year-old new father from Bartlesville said he’s ready for a new mission, taking care of his daughter.

Soldiers with the 45th Infantry Brigade will continue to return home in waves through early April.

Over 3,000 soldiers from Oklahoma’s Army National Guard deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait last June.