JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- Alex Labrada has missed his share of birthdays and holidays.
But instead of being in Afghanistan or on a training exercise, the Army combat medic got to to spend this Fourth of July with his family.
"It's never the same as being here," said Labrada after sliding down a slide with his three-year-old daughter at Joint Base Lewis McChord's Freedom Fest.
PHOTOS: JBLM Freedom Fest
1,500 JBLM soldiers remain overseas, according to a base spokesperson. That's the lowest number since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started. In 2007, that total was around 18,000.
Labrada said, in his line of work, he knows he might be sent anywhere at anytime.
His wife, Berenice, said that's something she is constantly nervous about.
"We cherish these moments," said Berenice. "We try not to think about those days."