According to current agreements as of December 31st 2011, the 41,000 military personnel in Iraq will have left and the final 22 bases will have been closed or handed over to the Iraqis. Eight years of conflict leaves a lot of material, equipment and trash. We have gone from a high of 505 bases and 165,000 troops to the current levels in a short time but the count down to the end of the mission continues rapidly. One point six million (1.6M) pieces of equipment have been moved from the Iraq theatre to other missions according to Maj Gen Thomas Spoehr but seven hundred thousand plus (700K+) remain.
|Maj Gen Thomas W Spoehr|
The general described this effort “as achieving a velocity never seen before in military operations”. Remember the pictures following Desert Storm of huge backlogs of equipment stacked in Kuwait? The seamless support from air and ship movements in conjunction with land movement to the ports has been exceptional. He credited the use of computers and scanners as critical to the effort with an embedded team of experts from Transportation Command helping make the personnel and equipment movements go well. Deciding on what to move takes on a new priority when the cost is considered! It takes about $40K to move a 40 foot container of “stuff” from Iraq to the United States according Spoehr! Wow.
What about the legacy of American commitment to Iraq? He said that the sacrifices of US Forces have given the Iraqis a new opportunity to govern themselves. With fewer and fewer attacks occurring in the country, the type of peace that follows this time period of war will soon be up to the Iraqis themselves! We will need a big shout out on December 31st for all of those who serve or served during this conflict! Thank you is not enough but it is a start!
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