Nearly 200 Fort Carson soldiers are on their way home after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of one of the post's largest deployments in history, for nearly a year. It is the beginning of the biggest in-place exchange of troops in U.S. history. Eighty percent of the Army's combat divisions are involved.
Around 7:30 Friday night, about 185 Fort Carson soldiers are expected to land at Peterson Air Force Base, and willl be able to hug their family members for the first time since April 2003.
Since the deployment of nearly 11,000 Fort Carson troops, the largest since World War II, 43 have died.
Experts warn, while the homecomings can be very happy times, they can also be quite stressful. One example, in the summer of 2002, three soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg killed thier wives after returning from Afghanistan.
The Army has learned from such tragedies and is preparing soldiers in the field, and thier families back home for the reunions.
According to Fort Carson, 8%-10% of soldiers returning home will be considered at risk for anything from domestic violence to financial stress. They are the ones who will get special attention. Those teaching soldiers about successful reunions stress communication.
Families with a history of alcoholism or prior domestic violence will get more intensive attention.
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