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    Posted December 4, 2011 by
    Longview, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Stories from the Iraq war

    1st and Last Deployment to Iraq


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     tln244 is a platoon leader in the U.S. Army. He spent 12 months in Iraq helping to shut down more than 40 U.S. military bases. He is now in Kuwait.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    Two word Blown Away!! This was my first deployment to Iraq and the amount accomplished is simply astonishing. As we replaced previous units it was clear the burden of reducing the American and Allies footprints was solely on the last units. The first half of the tour would led me to believe the end would be unattainable. Due to negotiations valuable time was lost awaiting a final decision on if/when we would depart from Iraq for good. With the expectation an extention would be signed the Military was forced to start the draw down later than would be expected. But boy, once it started it was on. As bases closed and troops left, the U.S. Military was humming at full speed. While I am a new Officer and had limited expectations I never could have envisioned what the Military is truly capable of when operating at full steam ahead. As we departed I have never felt more proud in my life to be a part of something.

    Being deployed also gave me a greater sense of just how good America truly is. Iraq isn't a bad country by any means but its not the USA. While I hope we can continue to build upon our relationship with the Government of Iraq, I am in no hurry to return. As our containers departed and were checked by Iraqi customs, I was in amazement at not how well we had trained them but at how well they retained it. It was almost frustrating with the anticipation of returning home, but you couldn't help but feel pride when watching them do their duties.

    I hope that the relationship continues to bud and that Iraq and America will share a long and bountyful future.

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