We used the last large Army homecoming from Iraq to Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week as an opportunity to tally up the number of soldiers who’ve deployed from there over the past decade.
Not counting Special Forces, the Army told us the number was 114,000 since 2001.
It took us an extra day to get the same numbers from the Air Force side of the joint base. It’s been sending airmen in small groups on a range of missions to the Middle East, mostly on assignments delivering supplies into combat zones.
McChord’s active-duty 62nd Airlift Wing has deployed 24,000 airmen since 2001, while the 446th Reserve Airlift Wing has sent 5,301 airmen overseas since the wars started.
The end of combat in Iraq means the pace of deployments could ease up a little, though Lewis-McChord expects to see a busy year in Afghanistan in 2012. The Army’s I Corps is in Kabul, while the 14th Engineer Battalion and three artillery batteries are also deployed to Afghanistan. Elements of Lewis-McChord’s 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division are in the field or en route to the country for their yearlong deployment.