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After The Homecoming: Part 1

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RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Our troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, but for many men and women the war continues once they are home.

The transition from soldier to civilian isn't easy, it often leads to relationship and employment struggles, even post traumatic stress.

In the first of three, "After the Homecoming" special reports, we meet a marine who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Matthew Kirby is still in the Marine Corps Reserves, he returned from Afghanistan in October 2010.

He was a student at Louisiana Tech for one year before deciding to enlist with the Marines.

Through two deployments, his college education has been paused a few times.

Matthew Kirby says, "there was no question that I was going to finish my undergrad, the question was okay do I just go into the workforce or do I do grad school."

Some soldiers struggle with what to do after returning home, Kirby says it all depends on what experience you had while fighting.

He says, "my deployment was really on the mild side as far as deployments go, we didn't lose anybody we had some close calls but no deaths or anything like that."

Kirby says that helped ease the transition, "having that support network of friends and family and stuff, is a major plus, and that was a huge, huge thing during the whole deployment was so many times I would talk to my parents and they would say all these people I haven't even met, you know we're praying for you."

He says the deployment did change him, and while he knew everyone wanted to see him, and he wanted to see them, it had to be on his own time.

Kirby says, "I never really was quite a hot head, but I will say that I have a lot less patients just dealing with people in general than I did before, in the Marine Corps you deal with people very directly you don't speak around an issue you get to it."

Kirby says one frustration is, nobody understands exactly what it is like, so he documented everything.

He says, "I wrote in a journal the whole time took a lot of photos and videos and things like that, but you realize quickly when you come back and try to tell stories, you take so much for granted."

Kirby says he would tell any soldier going through hard times it isn't hopeless. As long as you stay close to those who you served alongside, and have the continued support of those on the home front.

If you'd like to honor your someone special serving in the military nominate him or her for our "Service Salute."

Later this month we'll share the "After the Homecoming Story" of a soldier who served in Desert Storm.

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