Fort Riley will soon have more soldiers physically stationed at the Army base than at any point since 1994, the outgoing commander of the 1st Infantry Division said Tuesday.
Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, who on May 25 hands off command to William C. Mayville, said soldiers are returning home from overseas combat and that by late this year or early next, the on-base numbers will reach a 17-year high.
"It does mean that we have something of a homecoming," he said.
There are 18,100 soldiers assigned to the northeast Kansas post, nearly double the population since the Department of Defense announced in 2005 that the 1st Infantry Division headquarters and units were returning from Germany to Kansas.
However, because of the time of deployments, no more than 10,000 or so have ever been on post at one time. But Brooks said increased time that soldiers are now spending at home between deployments mean there could be as many as 14,000 or more soldiers on post for an extended period of time.
"We expect that we will see a longer period time between deployments. That's something that, frankly, the Army has for several years," Brooks said. "We hoped it would come years before 2011. But the nature of our pace is the demand really exceeded the supply of units."