Military members react to Iraq withdrawal

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - October 21, 2011

Action News was at a USO reception tonight in Center City honoring our men and women in the military.


The sweeping announcement from the White House that servicemen & women will be reunited with their families in time for the holidays spread quickly throughout this USO event at the Loews Hotel.

George Roach of the Pa. Air National Guard said, "It's a great announcement, as a soldier, who can get tired of hearing them kind of words from our commander in chief."

"It's the best thing that ever happen for our people & for the economy," added Vietnam Vet Juan Gaskin.

Tim Wagoner, U.S. Air Force said, "I think we all welcome it, yep, yep, this is what we've been fighting for & waiting for."

The war has consumed this country for almost a decade. And while the President left open the possibility the U.S. could offer Iraq military assistance in the future, the majority of those we spoke with tonight are glad we're getting out of there.

Allen Kelly who served in the army help set up the new Iraqi Government in Baghdad.

"It's wonderful that Iraq is now able to standup on its own and that sovereignty is taking place, we've seen democracy at least change hands thru a democratic election once," said Kelly

Master Sgt. M.J. Flammer, U.S. Air Force said, "Well it's definitely great news, it's long overdue, I don't see it by the end of the year, maybe January."

"I certainly support the President & his decisions, it's been a long & hard fought war. We sacrificed for our country & hopefully we made a big difference for the world," added Bill Belknap,U.S. Army(retired)

Gail Kasper spent nearly $100,000 of her own money to send posters & products to Iraq & Afghanistan in support of the troops fighting there.

"This is where they belong, I'm thrilled that they're back here to protect our country," said Kasper.

There are some however who worry that Iraq is still not ready to take care of itself with Iran waiting nearby to stir trouble.

George Turak, Vietnam Vet said, "Hard to say whether it's a good idea or not? Hard to say if it's a good idea or not. I'm sure the Generals at the Pentagon & Washington know exactly what they're doing

...Many are hoping that Iraq will get its political act together and finally form a permanent coalition government, which many thought would have been in place by now.

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