Kuwait—The Air Force inactivated the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq, along with the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing, 368th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group, and 467th Air Expeditionary Group Sunday afternoon local time. The ceremony took place in a hangar at an undisclosed installation here just five hours after the last US troops left Iraq. “It’s been an honor to serve with so many men and women who poured their heart and soul into this mission,” said Maj. Gen. Russell Handy, who led the task force since August 2010. Handy also thanked airmen and their families for their “personal sacrifices.” Nearly 4,500 US military members died during Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn and more than 32,000 were wounded. “Understandably, many of you will look back and wonder if it was worth the price. That question is one we all will have to ask ourselves because sacrifice is a deeply personal thing,” said Handy. However, he assured each airman that they are leaving the Iraqis with more opportunities than they had before. “As you all depart here very soon, hold your heads high as proud members of a specialized fraternity of warriors,” he said.
Former British prime minister and now foreign minister David Cameron urged the U.S. Congress not to stop supporting Ukraine, saying the West has gotten a bargain in dramatically reducing Russia’s military power for a fraction of the U.S. defense budget.