Hundreds of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers are coming home early this week from deployments to Afghanistan.
The first group is celebrating its homecoming tonight, when the headquarters company of the 62nd Medical Brigade returns from a yearlong deployment where its medics oversaw care for more than 6,000 trauma patients. Its commander, Col. John Collins, was the top Army doctor in the country since the company hit the ground last April. About 100 soldiers from the company served with him on this mission.
Another group of about 150 soldiers from the 864th Engineer Battalion are scheduled to reunite with their friends and family Tuesday. Overall, about 500 soldiers in the battalion served on this deployment.
The engineers were charged with building new combat outposts and checkpoints throughout southern Afghanistan during a period when the number of American service members in the country rose from fewer than 70,000 to about 100,000, according to the Brookings Institution’s Afghanistan Index.
They’re set to arrive at Lewis-McChord’s Wilson Gym at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday.
The medical brigade’s headquarters company led about 2,000 service members stationed at 32 bases. About 96 percent of trauma patients survived their injuries during the deployment, according to an Army press release.
A surge in American forces also impacted the medics’ work. They helped establish 20 new medical services in the country, including a mild traumatic brain injury program.