With just weeks left, U.S. forces are focused on leaving Iraq prior to the Dec. 31st deadline. Sean Carberry with National Public Radio takes us to an Iraqi desert stop for convoys needing to fuel up.
Moments Of Relief, Joy
More than 30,000 troops have stopped as the U.S. has been shuttering its bases in the country’s north. And it’s the job of Capt. Samuel Campbell from Lake Travis, Texas, to make sure that everyone gets in and out quickly. Standing in the staging area where incoming convoys gather, Campbell walks through the process.
“They will clear the weapons when they come in, we’ll have escort take them to refuel,” he says. From there, they go through a maintenance check, load up on water, ice and MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat.
After that, they line up their trucks in the expansion yard and relax for a bit while they wait for the order to roll out. Campbell says that this is when the soldiers briefly let their guard down and revel in the fact they are going home.
“You can just look over and you can see it,” he says. “You have guys jumping, kind of laughing, smoking, joking.”
You can read Sean Carberry’s full story HERE.
Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead
Nearly nine years after the Iraq war began, the U.S. is winding down its involvement there. NPR Host Audie Cornish speaks with Stuart Bowen, the special inspector for Iraq reconstruction, about lessons learned and challenges ahead. You can listen to that interview HERE.