Soldiers Prepare for Trip Home

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Amid the recent violence in Iraq, the day thousands of Fort Carson troops have been waiting for is almost here.

It's time to come home.

Commanders say the effort is underway, even as violence escalates in their area of operations.

There are soldiers who operate outside the wire in Iraq, and there are soldiers who make sure they have what they need.

One group can't operate without the other.

"While supporting the brigade's mission the mountaineer soldiers have moved more than 10 thousand supplies, 500 tons of ammunition, conducted 500 transportation missions,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Scott Mills.

Mills oversees all support functions for the 3rd HBCT operating north of Baghdad.

His soldiers now have to get every piece of equipment the brigade used over the past year moved to check points in Iraq...

"The distances I'm talking about would be like moving a small community from Denver down to Colorado Springs," said Mills.

...And from those checkpoints back to the states.

Their time is up, but they're still losing soldiers: Three in the past few days.

"Any time we have a casualty it's a tragedy, especially this late in the deployment it's an exceptional tragedy," Mills said.

Colonel Mills chalks up the rise in violence to insurgent forces testing a fledgling Iraqi army as it begins to take the lead role in securing the country.

"The Iraqis are improving every day. I do believe we are going to see a turnaround shortly with the Iraqi capability," said Mills.

But as the mission for Iraqi forces is just beginning, Mills and his soldiers' stay in Iraq is coming to an end, and home is now closer than ever.

"We are very excited to come home," said Mills.

With a few stops along the way it takes about seven days travel time to get a soldier to the states from Iraq.

The first of Mills’ troops are expected home October 22nd.