Nightly News | September 30, 2012
>>> end to the troops surge reduced the overall number of american troops here on the ground, even if some new faces have arrived. it's all part of a revolving door reminding us just how much we have asked of our men and women in kwuniform.
>> reporter: few army divisions that deploy into battle more than the third infantry division . this time it is volatile southern afghanistan where a patrol searches for insurgent weapons caches.
>> we want to make a difference here for the first time.
>> the third id is accustomed to those calls. for the past ten years, it's virtually been on the pentagon's speed dial . it led off the invasion of iraq , becoming the first to reach baghdad.
>> the first american soldiers to cross into iraq .
>> there were three more iraq deployments to follow and now afghanistan . when you went to iraq the first time, would you have ever imagined that in 2012 , you would be sitting in afghanistan ?
>> i did not.
>> joseph ayala was one of only a handful of those soldiers remaining. he's been on all but one deployment since.
>> the hardest about about being deployed is being away from them. not being able to see their soccer games. and my youngest won started preschool.
>> back at ft. stewart in georgia, terry his become a single mom .
>> this is our fourth deployment so it's kind of normal, i guess you could say. we go through our normal work, sports, school, only he's not here to share it with us.
>> this servicemwith him deployed it's har d knowing that he could be hurt.
>> as a division, the third id's deployment pace is remarkable, but it's reality for the individual service members where multiple deployments have become the norm. with more tough days ahead in afghanistan , a country engaged in its longest war continues to ask so much of so much few. does it gets tiring having to face your wife, to face terry and say, guess what, i'm being deployed again?
>> it definitely does. it definitely takes a toll on the family. we have our own family while we're here, we take care of each other.
>> i'm proud of the things he does, i'm ecstatic to say my husband is in the military, you know, he serves his country.
>> the good news is the length of deployments was recently shortened over here somewhat. the third id will be here for nine months as opposed to the previous year-long assignments.