My first deployment was during the initial incursion on Iraq in 2003. I was a young Marine Staff Sergeant and I had never experienced war before. Many of the Marines that I served with had never been to war either. We all have different stories of where we were and what we were doing when the war was announced – it’s certainly a moment we’ll never forget.
In 2004, I deployed for the second time. I witnessed the formation of an interim government and a population voting for the first time. Thousands of other Americans experienced the same gratifying moment. However, the price we paid was high. 15 Marines in my unit did not come back. Having spent two birthdays in combat deployments, I feel fortunate to still be here to tell my story and be able to talk about a historic period in American history.
While over a million service members deployed to Iraq, we have all left something behind.
I saw thousands of our troops go back to Iraq, rotation after rotation. I couldn’t sleep well knowing that many of my fellow brothers and sisters never came back. I remember hearing politicians say that we needed to secure Iraq and build their government. They said that once we were done, the troops could come home. I was scared that politicians would keep us there indefinitely.
The war is over because President Barack Obama kept his promise. I am not bitter or regretful about serving my country. For me, it's the knowledge that I served with thousands of brave service members and that we all share a common bond that is priceless. With the Iraqi government formed and its military ready, we left at the right time.
Thank you President Obama. Because you kept your promise to end the Iraq War, I am committed to support you on November 6, 2012. Will you help?