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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa — It was really hot in Iraq, and the Marines worked all the time. But new father Cpl. Brandon Brown said coming home and learning how to be a daddy has been harder.

Brown, 22, from Thackerville, Okla., returned to the station last week with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262’s advanced party to help prepare for the rest of the squadron’s Thursday return. He deployed with the squadron to Anbar province, Iraq, in late January. About two months later, his wife, Kathleen, 20, gave birth to their first child.

Coming home to 5-month-old Kade was odd, the Marine said.

“I’m still getting used to the whole daddy thing,” he said. “But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

When his sergeant major first told him he was a father, “the room started spinning, and I got light headed, and I had to take a few seconds and let it soak in,” Brown said.

Now that he’s been back a week, the corporal’s starting to get the hang of caring for an infant, Kathleen Brown said. He’s learned to change diapers, clothe Kade and bathe him, she said.

The squadron may have worked seven days a week, sometimes 12 to 15 hours a day in Iraq, the new father said, but that’s nothing compared to the task of trying to dress his son.

“Putting clothes on this guy is harder than it looks,” said Brown, who works in an airframe shop. “There’s only so much that can go wrong with a helo. This guy is much harder to work on.”

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