Final U.S. combat brigade pulls out of Iraq

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From The Washington Post:

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, August 18, 2010; 7:08 PM

Lt. Col. Mark Beiger huddled his infantrymen in a darkened parking lot minutes before they were to depart Baghdad for the last time.

“This is a historic mission!” he bellowed, struggling to be heard over the zoom of fighter jets and unmanned drones deployed to watch over the brigade’s convoy to Kuwait. “A truly historic end to seven years of war.”

The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which left Iraq this week, was the final U.S. combat brigade to be pulled out of the country, fulfilling the Obama administration’s pledge to end the U.S. combat mission by the end of August. About 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq, mainly as a training force.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom ends on your watch!” exclaimed Col. John Norris, the head of the brigade.

“Hooah!” the soldiers roared, using an Army battle cry.

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