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Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

Leaving Iraq: Final troops, trucks cross border into Kuwait

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KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait — After the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, drove into Kuwait on Sunday morning, Soldiers from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Third Army, and Kuwaiti border military police closed the gate at Khabari Crossing.

To keep details of the final trip secret from insurgents, interpreters for the last unit to leave southern Iraq called local tribal sheiks and government leaders Saturday, and conveyed that business would go on as usual, not letting on that all the Americans would soon be gone.

Weeks of ceremonies in Baghdad and around Iraq included a flag-folding ceremony Thursday, as well as visits by Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The last troop movement out of Iraq, which included more than 100 vehicles and 500 Soldiers, began in darkness. Early Sunday morning, the convoy left Contingency Operating Base Adder, near the southern city of Nasiriya, heading toward the border.

As dawn approached, the last trucks began to cross the border into Kuwait.

The 3-1 Cav. was one of the final units to depart Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn after a nearly nine-year war in Iraq came to a close. A few hundred Soldiers will remain to support U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad.

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