New Year’s baby born just after the stroke of midnight to Army parents

The first words newborn Don Browne Junior heard weren’t “Happy Birthday.”

Instead, the baby born less than a minute into 2015 at Madigan Army Medical Center was welcomed into the world with cheers of “Happy New Year!” from medical staff at the hospital located on Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Angela and Don Browne of Lacey are the proud military parents of the little guy, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

Angela noted that Don Junior was born just after midnight.

“It was 12 and some seconds, but they rounded up,” she said.

His official birth time is recorded as 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1, 2015.

Dad, who is from New York, is a first sergeant with a newly formed unit of engineers in the Second Stryker Brigade. He is a 17-year soldier who served three combat tours in Iraq and who was also deployed on a humanitarian mission in Kosovo. Angela, from Mississippi, served in Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013. She just completed four years of active duty, working in Army intelligence, two weeks ago.

Now, she’ll focus on being a full-time mom to her newborn son, and to the family’s two older boys, 14-year-old Gabriel and 7-year-old Xavier.

Don is glad Angela will be able to devote more time to the family.

“My hours are different every day,” he said. “I’ll say I’m going to be home at 1700 hours (5 p.m.), and here it will be 2000 hours (8 p.m.), and I’m still there,” he said. “That’s the life of a first sergeant.”

Both parents were happy that Don Junior was showing no signs of fussiness for much of his first day of life. He spent New Year’s Day afternoon -- like many of the rest of us -- napping and eating.

“Hopefully he’ll stay that way,” Angela said.

The baby arrived nine days early.

“We weren’t even thinking about New Years,” she said. But once the moment was near, the couple got excited about the idea that their son might be the first New Year’s baby born at Madigan.

“We’re both very competitive,” she added with a smile.

The competition is usually stiff. Hospital officials said Madigan averages about seven births each day. In 2014, more than 2,200 babies were born there.

Not only does Don Junior earn First Baby honors, he also was rewarded with two baskets of gift items, one from the Madigan staff and another from Babys R Us.

“It’s exciting,” Angela said of her baby’s momentous arrival. “It’s something to put in his scrapbook.”