Military units stationed at the Fort Carson army base in Colorado have had to cope with the particularly heavy loss of soldiers to their ranks from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Since fighting began in 2002, 279 Fort Carson soldiers have been killed, most of them in Iraq. But as the war in Afghanistan becomes increasingly dangerous, troops from the Colorado base are being transferred there.
In a high profile battle in Afghanistan earlier this month, eight soldiers from Fort Carson were killed in the remote Nuristan province. 3,500 more troops from Fort Carson will head to Afghanistan next summer.
In this video, NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden talks to military officials, base workers and family members at Fort Carson about how they are dealing with the trauma of loss from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You talked to people on the streets, everybody wanted to know how they could help these families. You know, talking to anybody around town, and you run into this emotion of -- just this sense of loss was huge. I don't think people were prepared for -- for this kind of duration or the sacrifice that this town has had to give. And you watch these families who are deploying for the third or fourth time, the spouse, and it's really taken a punishing toll." - Tom Roeder, reporter, Colorado Springs Gazette
" Everyone has lost a friend. So, it doesn't make it easier. You certainly empathize with the families. But it gives you focus. It reminds you that what we're doing every day is not for play. It is deadly serious. So, we mourn the loss of those soldiers and -- and we grieve for their families. But, in a lot of ways, it helps focus what we're doing, because we're reminded that the stakes are so high." - Major David Meyer, U.S. Army
1. Why is the U.S. fighting in Afghanistan? Where is Afghanistan?
2. Where is Iraq? Why is the U.S. fighting in Iraq?
3. Where do the American troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq come from? Are some communities affected more by these wars than others?
1. In what ways would high casualties affect the residents of a town?
2. Do you know any families in your community who are personally affected by the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? In what ways would you help them? What kind of support do they need?
3. How could life be difficult for soldiers when they return from war? What problems might they face? How would these problems affect their family or community?
4. The U.S. has already been in Afghanistan for eight years and experts believe that the war will only get worse before it gets better. What do you think of this assessment? Do you think we should be focusing on adding more troops or pulling out?