— President Barak Obama, Dec. 14.
The magnitude of what this nation and our Soldiers have accomplished in Iraq is unprecedented. We have never been more proud of our Army –– our Soldiers, civilians and Families. You freed more than 25 million people from tyranny and given hope when hope was forsaken. Our Army provided new opportunity for the people of Iraq. No other Army in the world could have accomplished what you have done –– only American Soldiers.
Throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, our Soldiers embodied physical and mental toughness and courage under fire. Over the past eight years, the quality of our Soldiers has stood in stark contrast to the desert sands. Just as the World War II generation defeated tyranny across the globe, a new generation –– galvanized by the attacks of September 11th –– bravely defeated tyranny once again. Even during the darkest days in Iraq, our Soldiers never waivered in the face of doubt. They continued to risk life and limb for a cause larger than themselves. For their heroic action, they received nearly 9,000 awards for valor including two Medals of Honor, 16 Distinguished Service Crosses and 408 Silver Stars.
We remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, our Wounded Warriors, our Gold Star Families, and all of our loved ones who have been touched by the horror of war. Their sacrifices have given meaning to our values and ideals. For that, we thank them. A grateful nation will always remember, respect and appreciate these heroes as the “Next Greatest Generation.”
We are extremely proud of all of our Soldiers, civilians and Families. Our Army has once again proved that it is America’s Force of Decisive Action. Thank you for a job well done. Army Strong!
— Raymond F. Chandler III, Sergeant Major of the Army
— Raymond T. Odierno, General, United States Army Chief of Staff
— John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army