On August 31st, when President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom — the U.S. combat mission in Iraq — he was marking the end of a 7-year war that had taken the lives of more than 4,400 troops and cost U.S. taxpayers $750 billion.
While Iraq is still plagued with insurgent attacks, sectarian violence and political turmoil, most of the 144,000 U.S. troops that were in Iraq when Obama took office had already been withdrawn by the time he delivered his remarks from the Oval Office in August. 50,000 will remain to “advise and assist” Iraqi security forces until the end of 2011.
With reports that more than 35,000 Iraq vets have been seriously wounded during service and that a third of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are reporting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression or traumatic brain injury, we are left to wonder, what are the real stories of the service personnel returning from Iraq?
So, we want to hear from you. To share your story and be a part of our “Iraq: Faces of the Returning Troops” project, please e-mail the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. A photo of yourself. *
4. City and State of residence
6. Dates of Deployment
7. Have you had any war injuries or needed medical treatment? If so, what has been your experience with treatment?
8. What have been the biggest challenges since you left Iraq?
9. Have you received adequate support?
10. What would you like your fellow Americans to know about life after serving in Iraq?
*By submitting your photo, you are granting us permission to use it on PBS.org and saying that you have the rights to do so. We can give credit if you supply us with the name of the person who took it. Please send as large a file as possible.
For more on the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, check out Tavis’ recent conversations with London bureau chief for The New York Times John Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post David Finkel and (Ret.) U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark.