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Sergeant ships out just after daughter is born


In the hospital room's dim light, Richard Wynne and his wife, Tara, spoke softly while the newest addition to their family slept in footed pajamas.

Then Rebecca stirred and began to cry.

Wynne crossed the small room on the second floor of Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital, reached into the bassinet and picked up the 21-inch, 8-pound newborn and held her against his chest.

"I think she'll have hazel eyes," Wynne said, setting Rebecca in his wife's arms.

Wynne, 31, was happy to be in San Andreas on Saturday and thankful he was able to witness his daughter's birth the night before.

Had the baby come three days later, he would have missed it.

Wynne is a sergeant in the National Guard's 270th Military Police Company.

Yesterday, he boarded a plane for his base in Fort Lewis, Wash., and leaves for Kuwait on Wednesday, to prepare for war in Iraq.

"Our specific mission hasn't come down yet," said Wynne, an Ione resident who works at Folsom Chevrolet. "But they said to expect a warm, desert climate."

Wynne has served his country before, in the first Gulf War and in Somalia. He's felt the anxiety of going to battle.

But this war is different. Now he has a wife, three boys who call him dad and newborn Rebecca.

He's never had to leave a family behind.

Inside a cramped waiting room next to the nurses' station, the latest developments in the war flashed across a ceiling-mounted television.

The news that United States tanks had infiltrated Baghdad was lost on others there. But when he stepped out of his wife's room, Wynne couldn't help but look occasionally at the small screen. He took particular notice when the newscaster mentioned 4th Infantry units in Kuwait, ready to roll.

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