Early this morning, 110 armored trucks and vehicles carrying 500 soldiers set off on the five-hour drive from Iraq to Kuwait, down the highway once called Main Supply Route Tampa, pulling the last US troops out of Iraq, reports CNN. They hailed from Camp Adder, which just one month ago was home to 12,000 people. Even after Thursday's flag-casing ceremony, there were still 1,000 people here. Now Camp Adder, once home to coffee shops and an Italian restaurant, is officially in the hands of Iraq—and the nearly nine-year war is officially over. And as they crossed the border, troops cheered, pumped fists in the air, and gave each other chest bumps and bear hugs, reports the AP. "We're on top of the world!" one shouted.
Martha Raddatz accompanied soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division out of the country, and writes for ABC News of a moment that, for many, brings "closure and pride." She reminds readers that a "significant number" of those leaving "were just children when the war began." Others, she writes, were on their fourth deployments to the country. "The biggest thing about going home is just that it's home," one staff sergeant, who had first driven into Iraq in August 2003, tells CNN. "It's civilization as I know it—the Western world, not sand and dust and the occasional rain here and there."