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Deployment for brand-new dad

Altus_Hundreds of supporters filled the Altus High School football stadium Friday night for a send-off of 100 members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

The soldiers are from the 45th Fires Brigade, and are the headquarters company for the support battalion.  They will help coordinate the actions of other units in the battalion.

They were part of a deployment ceremony last Saturday in Oklahoma City for 800 soldiers, but tonight was a local goodbye from their supporters in Altus.Sergeant Dave Davis held his 3-week old daughter Samantha minutes before joining his fellow soldiers.  He didn't expect her to be here."She was due actually today and she was actually born three weeks ago," Davis said.  "So I got to spend a lot more time with her than I thought I would get to."His wife Tina patted away tears as she watched her husband prepare to leave.  Sergeant Davis was activated once before, but this is his first deployment overseas."I'm wondering about my ability to be a good soldier's wife, but I'm really proud of him," she said.

"It takes a lot of courage and a good sense of duty to do something like this especially weeks after your first child."Sergeant Davis is sad he'll miss out on some of her firsts, but says he is fortunate.

"I got to be here for her birth and you know, that's a lot more than a lot of other guys get to say."The Davises are going to take advantage of advanced modern technology so he will be able to experience some of Samantha's firsts."We've really worked hard over the last couple of months to establish some solid communication so that we make sure so he gets to see everything," Tina said. 

They've set up a web-cam, internet chat services, and it doesn't hurt that Tina's father is a professional photographer."So pretty much every moment of her life is going to be taped or photographed so he can see it, and that's our goal."Tina and Samantha have the support of their family and friends, and hundreds more showed their support for Sergeant Davis and all the soldiers."It feels really good to know that this many people are still being supportive and standing by us," Sargeant Davis said.After the ceremony, the soldiers left by bus for Fort Hood, Texas.  They will train there for about 2 months in preparation for a year-long deployment in the Middle East.

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