A line of heavily armored American military vehicles, their headlights twinkling in the pre-dawn desert, lumbered past the barbed wire and metal gates marking the border between Iraq and Kuwait early Thursday and rolled into history.
For the troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it was a moment of relief fraught with symbolism but lightened by the whoops and cheers of Soldiers one step closer to going home. Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was leaving Iraq….
……That presence is far from over. Scatterings of troops still await departure, and some 50,000 will stay another year in what is designated as a noncombat role. They will carry weapons to defend themselves and accompany Iraqi troops on missions (but only if asked). Special forces will continue to help Iraqis hunt for terrorists.
The bulk of the 4th Stryker Brigade from the 2nd Infantry Division left the country on Thursday. Approximately 100 members of the brigade remain in Iraq to handle various administrative and supply issues. They will be out of the country within days.
After Aug. 31, the mission in Iraq will no longer be known as Operation Iraqi Freedom and will instead be known as Operation New Dawn.
I served in Desert Storm and I was part of the inital combat operations in 2003 for OIF. I’ve kept up with most everything that has transpired during the Iraq war and with the troops. I am very proud to have been a part of this mission and I’m even more proud of the Soldiers who continued to carry on until successful stabilization, and turning the reigns over to the Iraqi government.
It’s up to Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki and his parliament to take the opportunity to bring his country into the 21st century and help make Iraq’s new found democracy work.
Iraq was once ruled by a WMD-weilding, terrorist-supporting megalomaniac. The threat has been erradicated and there is now a fledgling democracy smack dab in the heart of a region controlled by Islamofascism.
We must not forget that this war against Islamic terrorism and aggression is not over. The focus is now on Afghanistan; the other battlefield that the MSM and the public threw down the memory hole. Up until Obama got elected, the war efforts there were going pretty damned good. I’ve always mantained that B. Hussein was given a winning hand in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war is his to lose; if he doesn’t get the fuck out of the way and let the Army do its job, that’s exactly what will happen.
Remember those who gave their lives and welcome those who have returned home. Neither should be forgotten.
Duty, Honor, Country