News / USA

US Troops Return From Iraq to Reflect on Their Future at Home Base

Luis Ramirez

Thousands of troops have been returning to bases in the United States as Washington completes its drawdown of forces in Iraq. Planeloads of soldiers have been arriving ahead of a December 31 deadline to withdraw from Iraq. 

Home for the holidays, with a hero's welcome.

This was the last of several deployments in Iraq for U.S. Army Major Mike Williams.

“It's a sensational experience and the feeling is, I guess, of euphoria,” said Williams.

Williams is one of the tens of thousands leaving Iraq after President Obama's decision to bring home the troops by the end of the year.

After eight years and with more than 4,000 Americans killed, troops are back on home soil.
Thousands are returning to Fort Hood alone, turning in their guns, and preparing for life at home.

The smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies, and hugs from his children mean for Williams that he is home, and this time he can plan to stay for some time.

His wife, Royann, has been on her own with the children. She says she is not sure if this was the right time for U.S forces to leave Iraq but she savors the moment of her husband's return.

“It's wonderful," she said. "We haven't been able to stop smiling and get the house decorated for Christmas because we waited for him and it's been wonderful.”

She reflects on the suffering and the sacrifice that her family has had to make in the past eight years and says that for her, none of it was in vain if it means her children will live in a safer world.

“I would rather try to fight the terrorists on another soil than our own and if he had to go back as many times as he did, for our children hopefully not to have to go back over there," said Royann Williams. "As long as it was done right this time, it's definitely worth it.”

Williams came under fire several times in Iraq. But he says the biggest reward is knowing that he did his part to make his country safer by ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein and fighting terrorist groups like al Qaida.

“It was a great accomplishment in terms of, we've liberated a nation, we've taken care of the enemy on his soil, versus having him coming to the United States and attacking us again," said Williams. "And I think in the long run I think it has saved a lot of soldiers and a lot of civilians in our country from having to make the ultimate sacrifice and having another 9/11.”

Williams, like thousands of others returning to Fort Hood, is going through a reintegration program and getting ready for his new role as a soldier at base.

“[My] personal plan now is to reintegrate with my family, get reset, refit, go back to my unit after the holidays and start getting our unit going through that whole refit process that you do when you reset  all your equipment, get back into soldiering again,” he said.

Williams says the war against terrorism is not finished and his job now is to get ready for the next engagement, whenever and wherever it may be.

For his family, this homecoming marks the advent of a new period of peace at home.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid