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For many military dads, the very first glimpse of their children happens on a pier, in a dark parking lot next to a bus, or on a sunny tarmac. While serving their country overseas, they’ve watched the birth and growth of their newborn from afar– through Skype sessions, well-thumbed photographs in care packages, hand print drawings, and scribbled artwork.

Here are 17 of these first precious moments as fathers meet their sons and daughters after their long deployments:

1. A sailor is all smiles as he meets his newborn daughter. 

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan J. Batchelder

2. Blue creating a backdrop against vibrant pink, this Coastie cradles his daughter carefully.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt

3. Ignoring the hubub around him, this baby relaxes in his mother’s arms during his father’s homecoming.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist Stacy M. Atkins Ricks

4. A husband and wife share a joyful moment with their newborn as a family of three.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray

5. This family finds a quiet moment of reflection during homecoming.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Lance Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson, MCBH Combat Camera

6. A sailor feeds his bundled child for the first time.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings

7. This tiny military kid welcomes home her dad for the very first time.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Gaskill

8. Reunited at last, this family enjoys a moment of happiness together.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gerald Dudley Reynolds

9. Unable to contain his excitement, this naval officer shows off his baby to his shipmates.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Emiline L. M. Senn

10. After a year-long deployment, this father shares a first kiss with his daughter.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dustin Knight

11. A tiny sailor meets a much larger one.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ahron Arendes

12. Unable to hold back her emotions, a military spouse cries as her husband holds their child for the first time.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura

13. This family takes a moment for a photo and a moment of bonding.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS

14. With a fist raised into the air, this baby enjoys a quiet moment with Dad.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael E. Wagoner

15. With the perfect photo background and outfit, this military baby meets her Dad in style.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS

16. Even a late-night or early-morning homecoming can’t dampen the spirits of this family.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS

17. A smile lights up this father’s face as he gazes at his daughter.

17 awesome photos of newborns meeting their military dads
Photo: DVIDS

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