28 December 2009

Third Operation Proper Exit begins

(Left to right) Sgt. 1st Class Mike Schlitz, Sgt. Bill Congleton, 1st Lt. Jim Kirchner, Capt. Sam Brown and Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Olson stand next to Multi-National Force-Iraq Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Wilson as they are introduced to a crowd of service members Dec. 28 at Camp Victory's Al Faw Palace in Baghdad. Photo: Lee Craker.

Five wounded warriors returned to Iraq today with "Operation Proper Exit", a program that brings troops to visit the places they were injured. Prior participants state that one of the most important things about the visits was the ability - this time around - to leave Iraq of their own free will, versus being medevaced out of theater before completing their missions.

This is the third time this year Operation Proper Exit, sponsored by the Troops First Foundation, has brought troops to Iraq to participate in the week-long event.

The five soldiers come from different backgrounds, different ranks and have different stories to tell. What they share is an understanding of living life as a wounded combat veteran.

The soldiers will spend the next six days travelling throughout Iraq with Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Wilson, Multi-National Force-Iraq command sergeant major, visiting the places these soldiers experienced their own "alive day."

"We welcome these heroes. They are here to heal, and we are here to help them do that," Wilson said.

More about the program and these five heroes.

Update, 30 Dec 2009: Here's a video story about Operation Proper Exit from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs.

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