TIKRIT, Iraq – As Soldiers prepare to return home from deployment, they also prepare for the change from the combat zone to home.
According to Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas Kirchhoefer, the chaplain for the 701st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan., adjusting to change after a deployment is not an easy process.
To assist with this change and the redeployment process and reintegration back home, the Army has established the Deployment Cycle Support program. This program helps to identify Soldiers and Families who may need assistance with the challenges associated with deployments and provides military leaders the tools, resources and training they need to help with the reintegration process.
This is done through administrative actions, briefings, training and counseling for Soldiers while they are still in Iraq and simultaneously for their families at home through the unit’s rear detachment.
During the DCS process, Soldiers are given classes on the Army’s Sexual Assault Prevent and Response Program, Reunion and Reintegration, Suicide Awareness and Prevention. Soldiers also go through a series of health assessments which are designed to give medical care professionals the opportunities to evaluate the physical and behavior health of Soldiers.
Chaplains, like Chaplain Kirchhoefer, along with medical professionals are there to help.
Chaplain Kirchhoefer, who is currently on his third deployment—second deployment to Iraq—suggests that the best way to cope with the changes associated with redeployment is through communication between Soldiers and their loved ones.
“A lot of what we’re doing with reintegration (training) is talking to Soldiers and telling them to start talking about (their) expectations with Family and friends, start talking about their hopes and dreams, and what they want to do,” said the Florissant, Mo., native.
As Soldiers in the Dragon Brigade prepare for the reunion with Family and friends, a dedicated team is ensuring a seamless transition from Iraq to Fort Riley.