Since the first bombs dropped, in Baghdad, more than 1,000 Nevada National Guard members have served in the war in Iraq.
"Since the war kicked off, in 2003, we've had somebody, in Iraq, from the Nevada National Guard every single day, for eight years," says Major April Conway.
But now, we can expect more homecomings.
Back in June, several Guardsmen came home from Afghanistan, including Eric Ritter.
He also fought in Iraq, in 2004-2005, while in the Navy. "It was pretty violent. That was around the same time we were doing the whole Fallujah operation...From the stories I'm hearing from returning service members, now, it's a changed country and I'm glad to hear that aspect."
But many servicemen didn't come home from their tours with 36 Nevadans losing their lives in Iraq.
"The hard parts of war, you just have to accept that as part of war but there's a lot of good we did over there. I was very pleased to be a part of that."
Maj. Conway adds, "We're so proud of the job we've done, what we've been able to accomplish. Picking up people, taking them over to the desert, and doing our best to take care of their families and the civilian employers that are all living without these soldiers and airmen. So, it really is great to close the chapter on Iraq."
For Ritter, the idea of U.S. involvement in Iraq ending, is hard to get used to. "To see that there's an end to it...to me it's a little surreal because I've been involved with it for almost 9 years."
But people we talked to are split on whether or not Iraqis are ready to take control on their own. "I think it's a big mistake...We have to stay there and support them and help them out. Our job really isn't finished there," says Ron Morehead of Reno.
Bonnie Terry of Reno adds, "I think it's a good thing to bring them home. Too many lives have been lost and I think it's time."
Service members say they hope the timing is right, saying they've given the Iraqis the tools and wish them the best.
But whether it was successful or not - only time will tell. "Maybe, ten years from now, we'll all be tourists checking out downtown Baghdad."
With the end of the war in Iraq in sight, there are still 500 members of the Nevada National Guard in Afghanistan. And while they're pleased to see one war end, they remind us that this doesn't mean the war on terror is over. But they do say it's nice to know they can focus on Nevada and Afghanistan.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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