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In Brief Homecoming, Soldier Meets New Family

John Campbell holds daughter Taryn during his brief visit home in Hinesville, Ga.
Andrea Hsu, NPR
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John Campbell holds daughter Taryn during his brief visit home in Hinesville, Ga.
Paula Campbell holds Taryn's twin sister Taylor.
Andrea Hsu, NPR /
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Paula Campbell holds Taryn's twin sister Taylor.

In January, 1st Sgt. John Campbell and his wife Paula were preparing for his deployment to Iraq -- and for the arrival of twins. A month ago, while John was in Bagdhad, daughters Taryn and Taylor were born. John recently returned for an all-too brief visit with his new family.

With his buzz cut and his swagger, John, a member of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, looks every bit the tough military man. But he seems to melt around his wife and his two small girls.

"I know I've got to leave in another three or four days and I want to get as much closeness as I can to them because they won't see me again for a while…" he says. "I do know that when I retire here soon, Daddy will be around a lot more."

For Paula, the separation and the responsibility of caring for the twins alone is "a little scary, it's a little overwhelming. But I've got it covered," she says. Having John meet the girls helped ease one of Paula's greatest fears -- "that they would never know what kind of father they had."

Sgt. Campbell returned to Iraq over the weekend. Until his tour of duty ends, friends and family will take turns helping Paula, Taryn and Taylor Campbell at their home in Georgia.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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