Wounded warriors back in Iraq for 'proper exit'
December 6, 2010
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- Six wounded warriors returning to Iraq for the first time since they were injured received a heroAca,!a,,cs welcome during a ceremony at Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory today.
About 300 United States Forces-Iraq servicemembers and leaders greeted the wounded warriors and their military mentor, with cheers and applause as they entered the palace rotunda to begin their trip back in country.
This event was part of Operation Proper Exit, which provides servicemembers who were injured during their deployment in Iraq the opportunity to return to Iraq to see the changes that have occurred because of their service and sacrifice, and to continue their healing process.
During the event, Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur L. Coleman Jr., the senior enlisted advisor for the United States Forces-Iraq deputy commanding general for operations, and III Corps command sergeant major, introduced the servicemembers. Each wounded warrior then talked about their injuries and what they are currently doing as they heal.
Coleman said the servicemembers and their stories are an inspiration to all who wear the uniform.
Aca,!A"These Soldiers decided to not give up on life. Things might have changed, but they drive on,Aca,!A? said Coleman. Aca,!A"Coming here brings closure to the incident and also really gives them a proper exit from Iraq.Aca,!A?
Spc. Alexander Reyes, one of the wounded warriors, told those in attendance that what happens in Iraq is just an obstacle; "you work through it to accomplish your goals."
Aca,!A"I stand here today to give you my testimony and let you know that no matter what happens here (in Iraq), you can still overcome any obstacle that comes your way,Aca,!A? said Reyes, who was later surprised by the appearance of his brother, Spc. Euri Reyes, who is currently deployed in Iraq with the 289th Quartermaster Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, those in attendance were able to meet with the wounded warriors, offering their thanks and encouragement.
Aca,!A"Everyone welcomed me back to Iraq,Aca,!A? said Reyes. Aca,!A"They also wanted me to continue to earn my degree and continue with my life.Aca,!A?
The wounded warriors will spend the week in Iraq, traveling throughout the country, to see first-hand, the changes that have occurred due to the service and sacrifice of servicemembers like themselves.