Framework

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Members of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Calvary, the last U.S. troops to leave Iraq, cross the border into Kuwait on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. The U.S. military announced Saturday night that the last American troops had left Iraq as the nearly nine-year war ends.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Calvary, the last U.S. troops to leave Iraq, cross the border into Kuwait on Saturday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the Army's 1st Calvary's 3rd Brigade -- the last U.S. troops to leave Iraq -- cross the border into Kuwait.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

U.S. troops exit Iraq, heading into Kuwait.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

The Kuwait flag flies as U.S. troops travel out of Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Army Pfc. Adam Joseph, 23, of Georgia celebrates after exiting Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the Army's 1st Cavalry's 3rd Brigade -- the last U.S. troops to leave Iraq -- cheer as they cross the border into Kuwait.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Army Pfc. Adam Joseph, 23, of Georgia, left, celebrates with Pfc. Jonathan Castillo, 22, of New York right after they leave Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Army Pfc. Jonathan Castillo hugs Pfc. Adam Joseph. President Obama set a Dec. 31 deadline for all U.S. troops to be out of Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

The Kuwait flag flies as U.S. troops cross the border, leaving Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

A U.S. Army officer waves goodbye to members of the 1st Calvary's 3rd Brigade as they head out of Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the 3rd Brigade of the Army's 1st Cavalry prepare to leave Camp Adder, the last U.S. base to be handed over to Iraqi forces.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

U.S. troops with the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry patrol the perimeter of Camp Adder for the final time before it is turned over to Iraqi control.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Johnathan Brooks, 21, of San Diego, and Brian Artelt, 23, of Missouri, rest before their brigade leaves the base for Kuwait.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Army Spc. Zach Billingsley, 21, of Alabama, left, and fellow members of the 1st Cavalry's 3rd Brigade gather around barbecues before their last meal in Iraq, ribs and hot dogs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the "Ruffneck" 1st Platoon, Charlie Company of the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade await word to start their journey toward the Kuwaiti border.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division load bags onto a plane before vacating the base.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Army Spc. Jay Thomas, left, of Richmond, Va., and other soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division load their bags before heading home. Thomas, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, said, "It was an experience I never want to experience again."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Army Pfc. Royce Brunner, 21, and other soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division prepare to leave Kuwait, where they stopped after exiting Iraq on their way home. "I believe wholeheartedly in why we are there, to defend our country against terrorism," Brunner said of the concluding U.S. mission in Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Sgt. 1st Class Karl Akama of Hawaii served four tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. He has a wife and seven children waiting for him to get home for Christmas in Killeen, Texas. Here, he relaxes Dec. 16, 2011, after being up all night going through a final check. The troops of the 1st Cavalry Division out of Ft. Hood, Texas, are waiting in a quarantine area after having all of their belongings searched prior to departure from Kuwait for the U.S.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Iraqi police recruits are put through drills at police training headquarters in Baghdad on Dec. 12, 2011. Thousands of members of the Iraqi police have died in service, mainly as a result of terrorist attacks. Some were killed before completing their training.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Iraqi police recruits go through practice drills Dec. 12, 2011, at police training headquarters in Baghdad. Iraq's security will no longer depend on American and NATO forces, whose deadline for departure is Dec. 31.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Iraqi Cpl. Hatim Abdul Kareem, 33, mans a checkpoint outside Baghdad. Kareem served in Saddam Hussein's army before joining the new Iraqi armed forces. "When the Americans are gone, there will be war on the streets," he said. "The enemy is faceless now."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

In a predominantly Christian neighborhood of Baghdad, two women on Dec. 12, 2011, pass Our Lady of Salvation Church, surrounded by blast walls. Fifty-eight people were killed in a November 2010 bombing of the church by the Al Qaeda in Iraq militant group. Of the approximately 1 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, more than half are thought to have left the country.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

"All my friends have left," says Henry Conway, 35, a Christian Iraqi. He attends a weekday Mass on Dec. 12, 2011, at the Church of the Virgin Mary, in central Baghdad, which was attacked in 2004.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

On the banks of the Tigris River, men work Dec. 12, 2011, on a steel riverboat construction project that will soon be Baghdad's first floating restaurant. It is a joint venture between Iraq and Egypt, where floating restaurants are popular along the Nile.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

The Khadim family has suffered since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Seen here Dec. 12, 2011, they initially fled to Syria to escape the violence but now live in a vacant Baghdad office building . Suhad Khadim, 38, second from the right, says life was better under Saddam Hussein. She worries about the future of her children, Abdullah, 10, left; Dina, 14, rear left; Ali, 11, front left; and Mina, 15, front right. Suhad's husband, Jalal Khadim, 42, rear right, has not been able to reopen the shop he once had in the same building.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Duha Mohamad, 8, studies the blackboard in her second-grade class in Baghdad on Dec. 12, 2011. The number of students in public schools has dropped dramatically with the opening of private schools, not allowed under Saddam Hussein. The average class size is now 35 students instead of 70

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Ziad Taha, 34, seen here in Baghdad on Dec. 12, 2011, used to run a plant nursery, but he and his family closed the business because the location was too dangerous and a blast wall was put up surrounding his neighborhood. He now works in a government job.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Horse carts such as this one seen Dec. 12, 2011, in central Baghdad are still used in Iraq to transport goods. The flags have remained flying from the recent Shiite Muslim holiday of Ashura, which was banned under Saddam Hussein. Now Shiite flags are hung throughout the capital.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Although gasoline prices have increased dramatically in Iraq, so has the number of cars, clogging streets all over Baghdad, seen here at night Dec. 12, 2011. Most of the taxicabs have been imported from Iran, Iraq's former enemy.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

IRAQ-KUWAIT BORDER--DEC. 18, 2011--Members of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Calvary are the last US troops to leave Iraq as they cross the border into Kuwait it will signify the end of US forces in Iraq. President Obama set a Dec. 31st deadline for all troops to be out of Iraq.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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6 Comments

  1. December 18, 2011, 12:21 am

    God bless our troops.
    And …
    WELCOME HOME!

    George Vreeland Hill

    By: George Vreeland Hill
  2. December 18, 2011, 6:42 am

    Thank God, the night mare is over!!!!!

    By: vada
  3. December 18, 2011, 7:18 am

    Yippee!

    By: JanetinIowa
  4. December 18, 2011, 8:28 am

    What a lost of young American lives. Around 5,000 not to mention the critically wounded. And for what ?
    Now one of Americas corporate oil companies has negotiated a deal for oil from the Northern Irag Turks,
    China who opposed the war and whose people did not shed one ounce of blood is securing big oil contracts , Iran is dictating their future, the schools , hospitals and electrical power plants that our tax dollars paid for sit ideal . And less us not forget the big power play that is taking place in that country
    while the United States begs China for credit and our economy is in shambles. But Bush, Cheney,
    and all their cronies will have a great XMAS with all the kick back money from the TRILLIONS spent on this worth less war .

    By: EL CHICANO
  5. December 18, 2011, 10:00 am

    Hooray..let's start a war on war.

    By: jim
  6. December 18, 2011, 10:54 am

    Unqualified, more like…

    By: msnelson.ms

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