Father, daughter united

Published 8:56 pm Monday, August 2, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
She was born the day he arrived. Monday, almost six months later, Kauream Reynolds finally got to hold his daughter in his arms.
Spc. Reynolds glided down the escalators at Pensacola Airport Monday morning. Clad in desert camo with a single bag slung over his shoulder, his eyes scanned the commons area, looking for the family ready to take him home for 16 days, and a meeting with a daughter he hasn't met.
"She was born the day I landed in Kuwait," Reynolds said. Her name is Krystal La Mae Reynolds.
As he stood at the entrance to the airport, that single rucksack sat at his feet. Passers-by looked at the tall, lanky young man; the half question on their faces could be summed in one word, "Iraq."
The lanky 22-year-old, all of 6-foot-two, was a student at Alabama State University majoring in criminal justice before his National Guard unit; Atmore's Company A of the 711th Signal Battalion, was called to active duty.
His wartime job, keeping the unit's Humvees running smoothly with the right parts and maintenance in the harsh desert environment of Iraq. About a year from earning his B.S. in criminal justice, Reynolds hopes his peacetime job will be working either as an Alabama State Trooper or working within the juvenile justice system.
But on Monday, everything could wait until after a quiet reunion with his loved ones.
"I'm looking forward to spending time with my family and looking up some of my friends," Reynolds said.
He rests an arm on a pay phone booth and looks out the window for the pending arrival of his loved ones.
"I've been waiting for this," he said. Leave for the troops in mercurial: no one know when they might get it or for how long. "We don't get much warning. There were five slots open to our group. I was the second one," he said. Reynolds received a couple days advance notice – and a little advice from his fellow soldiers- before the five days of traveling to make it home. "They told me to have fun for them too."
Krystal LaMae Reynolds. He's never met her, but he's seen her. "They sent picture by the Internet," Reynolds said. When asked if he wanted to give a shout to anyone, he simply said, "to my daughter.
"There they are," and with that, Reynolds was out the sliding glass doors to meet his family.
Reynolds broke into a broad smile when he saw them. Hugs were received from his mother, Janice Reynolds and his cousin. And finally, with open arms, he received his daughter.
"She knows he's her daddy," Janice Reynolds said. The infant grinned as he brought her into his arms. Reynolds held her up, dressed in pink, her face showed his same strong features, softened by a little girl's smiles and giggles as her daddy held her up and then close again in his arms.
Asked if there was anything special planned, Janice Reynolds, said the family would be having a special day for father and daughter Saturday.
As for the rest of Kauream's plans? Getting to know his daughter, of course. And settling into some good, home cooking. "The food's not that good there. I'm about to get to that in a couple of hours," he said.
Kauream's leave lasts for 16 days, and then the Atmore native will be headed back to his company in Iraq to finish their tour of duty in the war on terrorism.

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