Iraq Drawdown: A Way Station on the Road Back Home

A convoy of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne line up at Contingency Operating Station Kalsu, a U.S. base about 60 miles south of Baghdad. For many U.S. troops, it is the last stop in Iraq on the way out of the country. Photo by Sean Carberry/NPR.

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.


2 Responses

  1. Hopefully the USA doesn’t have to go back in a third time!

  2. I am happy that the war in Iraq is finally over. It has been 9 long years for Americans and their families. We have lost so many soliders for a war that we never should have even been a part of. The U.S. has a thing about trying to fix everyone except their own people. Now maybe we can focus on what is really the issue here. That being our hungry, homeless, uneducated americans.

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