Injured Vets Seeking Closure Return to Iraq

Operation Proper Exit reveals war's progress to wounded
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2009 4:58 AM CDT
Soldiers wounded in combat while deployed to Iraq walk through "Hero's Highway" at an Air Force Theater Hospital before returning to Camp Victory.   (Department of Defence)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The military has been aiding injured veterans to return to Iraq to help them find closure and assure them that their sacrifices were worth it. Operation Proper Exit—believed to be the first such program to facilitate vets' return to a battlefield while a war is still in progress—has had a "phenomenal" effect on the wounded veterans, one commander tells the New York Times. "Some of them said their night terrors stopped after they went," he said.

The idea of returning to Iraq came from the injured troops themselves. Some of the vets, used to the the sounds of exploding IEDs and mortar fire, are astounded at how quiet military bases in Iraq now seem. "It’s an honor to be here and see the progress. We gave a lot for your country and we’re glad for it,” one lieutenant who lost a leg told an Iraqi general. ”You should wear your wounds like badges on your chest,” the general replied.