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updated: 12/31/2012 8:54 AM

Soldier adjusts to life at home after Afghanistan

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  • U.S. Army 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn kisses his wife, Leanne, holding their baby Emma, age 14 months, as they reunite during an arrival ceremony for soldiers returning from a deployment in Afghanistan at Ft. Carson, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

      U.S. Army 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn kisses his wife, Leanne, holding their baby Emma, age 14 months, as they reunite during an arrival ceremony for soldiers returning from a deployment in Afghanistan at Ft. Carson, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
    Associated Press

  • Roughly a week back from Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn watches as his wife, Leanne, reads a bedtime story to their baby Emma in Fountain, Colo. Asked what's the best thing about being home, Dunn says: "Family -- at the risk of sounding cliched, I really don't care about much else but being with family and the ones I love ... and the ability to decide on a whim to go somewhere without any concerns or restrictions -- like getting shot at."

      Roughly a week back from Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn watches as his wife, Leanne, reads a bedtime story to their baby Emma in Fountain, Colo. Asked what's the best thing about being home, Dunn says: "Family -- at the risk of sounding cliched, I really don't care about much else but being with family and the ones I love ... and the ability to decide on a whim to go somewhere without any concerns or restrictions -- like getting shot at."
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

FOUNTAIN, Colo. -- First Lt. Aaron Dunn deployed to Afghanistan in early March 2012. His 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was charged with engaging Taliban fighters in Kunar province and mentoring Afghan government soldiers. Upon returning, here are some of his views.

Coming home:

"War and coming home are going to mean different things to each soldier. For me it was God and family. I get my security in life from my hope in God, and my companionship and support from my family. I really didn't worry too much during deployment, because of that faith."

Support for those serving:

"For a lot of soldiers, it's the family back home that drives them. Support from family and friends is very important. Support is also important from the American public. Often times a simple thank you is enough."

The emotional toll:

"In my opinion, it's tougher on the families, especially after the unit takes a casualty. I personally can't imagine waiting, not knowing if your loved one is alive or even all right, and having a panic each time a car drives by your driveway thinking it's the military chaplain and escort coming to see you."

Making up for the lost time with family:

"A lot of people seem to think that `quality time' will make up for a long absence. It doesn't. Its `quantity time' that does that. It is the time spent doing things that are fun, but also the time spent doing the daily chores, and other routines that firmly bring a family together. Emma was 5 months old when I deployed, and 14 months old when I returned. I was able to stay in touch with the family and had the luck to watch Emma begin to crawl via Skype."

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