A U.S. soldier stands at a spot struck by Iranian missiles in January at Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq's Anbar province. Following the service, several soldiers hugged them in gratitude. Stars and Stripes is looking at the mental health of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and how they cope with war’s internal burden while deployed. They begin at the feet or the lowest point still attached to the torso. Among the returning troops was 25-year-old L/Cpl Clint Buchanan, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, who saved a wounded colleague after a Taliban ambush. The White House will bring home 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year against the guidance of top military officials, a drawdown order that reduces the American presence by about a third, from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official. In the sequence of steps to repatriate remains, soldiers assigned to the collection points fulfill a duty at once vital and invisible, gaining perspective on the moral dimensions of a position that most of them, including Siverand and Valdivia, did not seek. I would normally only have 1-2 weeks warning on actual date and time of when leave was approved. But during the 1990's 60% of the military bases in the United States were closed, along with 50% of our overseas bases. A soldier on their two weeks of "R&R" leave from Iraq or Afghanistan, gets his or her airfare paid for by the government. The rate parallels that of infantry soldiers and suggests the mental burden borne by those who handle the dead. But if the same soldier wishes to visit home before or after his deployment, they have to pay for that themselves. ''I had been in country one month when I got the phone call that another Cronan was on the way,'' Cpl Cronan said. Q. Our only rule is, one ticket per person. The military is an all volunteer force, and they get paid for what they do. Pfc. 1 week before you can leave you find out the specific days. I just try to think of it as the person was never real. When going on "LEAVE" from the military, you pay your own way home. Durell Siverand found a family portrait in the dead soldier’s wallet that showed him posing with his wife and two daughters. What do you get out of it? If however, internet commerce isn't your game and you'd prefer to send a check or money order, you can get our mailing address on the donation page. Plane ticket from Kabul, Afghanistan to LAX is gonna run you $2000+. A memorial ceremony takes place on the runway apron. Can't military personnel fly for free on military planes? Our federal tax ID is 20-1972301. A welcome home parade will be held for all of the returned soldiers on November 20. Q. Dozens of soldiers from his company appeared at the hangar for the prayer service. “When you see the faces of the guys who know the victims,” Siverand said, “that’s when you understand the importance of the job. U.S. airstrikes against Taliban forces will also continue since forces fly out of Kuwait and other countries in the region. The Uniformed Services University reported in 2010 that one in five mortuary affairs specialists sent to Afghanistan or Iraq returned with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Your trip begins in Afghanistan. Cpl Cronan, who already has two boys, Jack, 5, and Luke, 3, said it was reassuring knowing his ''little princess'' will have two big brothers to watch over her. You have 2 weeks off. By MARTIN KUZ | Special to Stars and Stripes | Published: February 17, 2014. Whatever airline gives us the most bang for our buck, gets the business! Yesterday Cpl Cronan, of Brisbane's 6 Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), arrived home from Afghanistan after his eight month tour - just in time for the birth of little Evie who is expected this week. Q. Donations of any amount large or small, are greatly appreciated! Mortuary affairs units deploy to Afghanistan for six months. © 2020 Stars and Stripes. A. [See below for annual returns] Those that are familiar with the project from the past twelve years are probably pretty comfortable, even relieved to know their donation is going to help a small group of deserving people instead of some nameless conglomerate. Before deploying, Siverand worked in a morgue for a short time, and after arriving at Bagram last summer, he spent several days observing the unit that the 54th replaced. Let me know what you decide to do.-- Ms. Vicki. Siverand and Valdivia salute again, close the door and return to the compound. Why are you doing all this? He wanted to unread the letter. Meanwhile, it was claimed that 850 troops are on standby to fly to Iraq over Christmas. “It’s harder when they’re not really messed up because they look like an actual, live person,” he said. The team in the hangar responds with practiced urgency. As they embraced and wept, Valdivia strained to stifle his emotions. The two share another duty known as vehicle clearance, cleaning out armored trucks in which soldiers have been killed. Most people in the military are not actually stationed in Afghanistan but only deploy there for 6-12 months, so the military foots the bill on flying the unit from Afghanistan back to respective duty stations and then you take care of the rest. Yesterday newspaper reports said that 250 paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group have been warned they could fly out to Basra. The cutbacks can only be so surprising. Before departing the hangar, the pair lifts the body bag into the lower half of the transfer case. The battalion, which lost nine men during its tour, was greeted at Hounslow by family and frinds waving flags. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Biohazard bags filled with ice rest under the head and feet and across the chest to slow decomposition. Q. Brisbane-based soldiers fly home from Afghanistan tour. Just like you, we shop around and compare prices, trying to balance the need of the individual person's schedule with the costs of compatible airfares. Handling the dead has instilled an awareness of life’s brevity; observing the reactions of the living to the fallen has revealed how one person can inspire many. Along one wall of the mortuary hangar, the flags of Germany, Poland and other coalition countries hang side by side, forming a veil of solidarity. In this space, where a small wall sign reads “Dignity Reverence Respect,” death controls the order of life.


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