It was likely difficult for him to see how she'd changed, she said.
"When he left, I was a little girl," she said. "I had a cell phone and a boyfriend when he came back."
By the time Hampton got to Iraq, the end of the war was in sight. There was still the daily threat of roadside bombs and rocket attacks to contend with, but nothing like her father had seen at the height of the war.
In the year since she rolled across the Iraq-Kuwait border, Hampton got engaged to a fellow soldier.
As she looks toward starting a family, Hampton's made another decision: She's getting out of the Army.
"I honestly don't think I want to put my children through that," she said.
"It's really hard."
'I don't want to live like this'
Ali Adel waited his turn for a haircut in a small barbershop nestled between short, squat buildings near his neighborhood mosque.
One minute, he was making small talk with patrons. The next thing the 20-year-old remembers is lying in a Baghdad hospital bed, writhing in pain.
He had no memory of the November 27 blast, a bombing that took place nearly a year after the last U.S. troops left Iraq.
"I never thought this would happen to me," Adel said, lying in a bed at his family home.
Over the years, Adel had seen the devastation caused by bombings that repeatedly struck his neighborhood in the predominantly Shiite district of Shula. For years following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Sunni extremists targeted the al-Zahraa mosque in his neighborhood with deadly results.
When U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, Adel was hopeful that maybe the violence, the bombings, might stop.
Adel was 11 during the 2003 invasion. Today, he measures life in Iraq by "before" and "after."
Before the war, when Saddam Hussein was in charge, and after the war, when he was deposed. Before the war, when his family was whole, and after the war, when he lost friends and family members to insurgent attacks.
A month after the bombing, his head remains bandaged from a shrapnel wound. He can't see out of his right eye.
He's counting the days until he can go back to work as a construction day laborer.
"I don't want to live like this, I want to go back to a normal life," he said.
'Trying to figure out if it was worth it'
U.S. Army Capt. Mark Askew had seen some of the very worst of the fighting in Iraq, battling insurgents street by street in 2007 as part of a strategy that saw thousands of American troops push into areas held by Sunni militants and hold it.
Askew also saw positive changes take hold in Iraq, from its military taking responsibility for security to its lawmakers standing up a fledgling democracy.
When he left last year, on the last U.S. military convoy to leave the country, he wondered what would happen to Iraq.
Askew, who is 29, was at West Point when the war began in 2003. He watched its beginnings like many Americans -- on television.
He first stepped foot in Iraq in 2007 as part of then-President George W. Bush's "surge" policy: Push into territory held by Sunni militants and hold it.