It has been eleven years to the day since the ground war began in Iraq. Following an intense air and missile barrage the day before (shock and awe), coalition ground forces moved into the country from Kuwait. The “major combat operations” lasted 43 days, but combat continued until the final withdrawal in December of 2011.
Between the initial assault and the final exit, Operation Iraqi Freedom took twists and turns, the most significant of which was arguably the surge, begun in 2007, that added 30,000 additional troops to the forces in Iraq and had an almost immediate impact in curbing violence and combat-related deaths and injuries.
Many men and women sacrificed for their country during OIF, and although the future of Iraq is still unknown as it struggles to decide its future, the American troops by their very nature left in their wake a spark of liberty in the Iraqi people. Whether it grows to a flame or withers out is up to them.
To view a 165 photo essay of OIF published by the Denver Post last year, click here.