New dads are among Oklahomans who return from Afghanistan

Nearly 30 soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard returned Thursday from a deployment to Afghanistan. Several became fathers during their deployment.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Published: January 13, 2012

Spc. Richard Higgins, of Kingston, also got a chance to hold his son on Thursday. Higgins said he was home on leave when his son, Bryson, was born about four months ago, but he has to make up for plenty of lost time.

“I have to get to know him,” Higgins said. “It made it tougher not being there for him.”

Higgins' wife, Shayla, said she has joked that Bryson knew his father was gone and was unusually well-behaved for a newborn.

“It was a lot harder having him leave when I was six-months pregnant,” Shayla Higgins said. “He is a great baby, though.”

Brig. Gen. Robbie Asher, director of joint staff for the Oklahoma National Guard, told the soldiers before they were dismissed that adjusting to life at home is a long process.

“The soldiers of the 45th Infantry Brigade had a very long, tough and challenging year,” Asher said. “You've changed. Your family has changed. Give yourself some time to get reacquainted to the family.”