US Mission in Iraq Changing

On Sept. 1, US military forces in Iraq will formally switch from combat operations to an advise-and-assist role. Along with that, Operation Iraqi Freedom will end and the new civilian-led Operation New Dawn will begin. During New Dawn, US personnel will continue to support Iraqi counterterrorism operations, work in provincial reconstruction teams, and help build Iraqi security forces capability. USAF airmen will continue to train the Iraqi air force. On Thursday, the final elements of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team crossed into Kuwait, completing the pullout of the last full combat brigade from Iraq. By the end of August, there will be 50,000 US troops left in Iraq, down from the OIF high of 180,000. All US troops are slated to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. (Camp Taji report by Army Pfc. Kimberly Hackbarth) (AFPS report by Donna Miles) (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)