Military, Families Set for President's Iraq Address

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images/Sandy Huffaker
    The main gate at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base

    San Diegans who have served in the war themselves -- and been wounded -- and San Diegans who still have loved ones in Iraq, planned on watching President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night about the official end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.

    Lt. Colonel Seth Sherwood from Coronado is one of the officers responsible for moving equipment and people out of Iraq.

    Military, Families Set for President's Iraq Address

    [DGO] Military, Families Set for President's Iraq Address
    San Diegans who have served in the war themselves -- and been wounded -- and San Diegans who still have loved ones in Iraq, planned on watching President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night about the official end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. (Published Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010)

    "Probably by the end of this, we'll have moved somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 pieces of equipment out," Sherwood said Tuesday.

    Sherwood feels that troops worked very hard toward the day that combat troops left Iraq.

    Sherwood's parents said they don't expect any big surprises in the president's speech on Tuesday night and believe the president will talk about those who are pulling out and those staying behind.

    "We need troops around," said the officer's father, Burt Sherwood. "We don't want to see them fighting necessarily, but they do add a stable element to governments trying to get started, as the Koreans were and Iraqis are now, and I feel president may bring that analogy up also."

    "I would hope he would say we're not going back ever -- but one never can say that -- but I think he is not about to put troops back in there and allow the Iraqi government to prosper and grow by themselves without aid we have left over there," Sherwood's mother, Alexandria Sherwood, said.

    Also watching the president's speech on Tuesday will be business owner Josh Zeller, who served three tours in the Middle East with the Marine Corps infantry; two of those were combat tours. Zeller has two Purple Hearts and was recognized for valor

    "I hope he says, 'Just because combat troops are no longer in Iraq, we can't forget about Iraq,' " Zeller said. "It's come a long way in a short amount of time, in my opinion."

    Zeller, too, said he has hopes that the president will talk about Iraq's future, and he  will be interested to see what words the president chooses to describe the end of the war.

    "I don't know how you define victory under these circumstances," Zeller said. "It's such a complicated, complex matter. It's not easily defined. I hate to be cliché, but I think you do judge situations like this not by where it is today but where it is 10 years down the road."

    Tuesday night's speech is only the president's second Oval Office address. With 50,000 troops still in Iraq, the message is expected to be about the work that still needs to be done.