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Fort Campbell Braces For Soldier Homecoming

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

With talk of another troop surge, the military is preparing for another surge, this time on the home front. Thousands of soldiers are coming home to Fort Campbell in the next few months.

The base is expecting to handle a surge in stress-related disorders that come with war.

It's something many soldiers are looking forward to, the day they get to come home. But for many, the transition is not easy.

"You want them to come forward and express their feelings on their own. You don't want to pressure them into any situation because that can make it worse," said Clinton Stacy, RN at Eastern Kentucky Veteran's Center.

Stacy says the majority of the 120 patients there still deal with these issues. That's despite not seeing a battlefield in decades.

"Just seeing someone get hurt or just seeing what they have seen overseas, it can leave damage psychologically," added Stacy.

Some 15,000 soldiers are set to come home from the war zones in just a few months. One in five members of the 101st Airborne Division are expected to suffer from some sort of stress related disorder related to their service.

"It's terrible what they've been going through on a day to day basis and seeing what happens to the other soldiers day in and day out. I really respect them," said Gary Harris.

Many soldiers have endured several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and face going back again. Gary Harris, a Vietnam Veteran and father of a soldier with the 101st says that makes a huge difference.

"I come back home and it was over with. These soldiers now it's a voluntary army and they just keep sending them back, keep sending them back. It's getting to be a terrible strain," added Harris.

Fort Campbell nearly doubled its medical staff to help these soldiers return home.

The Army will monitor progress at Fort Campbell to help other bases prepare for similar homecomings down the road.


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