For more than seven years, America's brave men and women in uniform have done everything asked of them in the war in Iraq. Many have been lost on the battlefield, and Americans mourn their loss; all have performed with courage and valor, and we honor their sacrifice. Today, our nation begins a new chapter in this effort, bringing our final brigade combat team out of harm's way, ending combat operations, and beginning the transition to a civilian-led mission in Iraq.
As we mark this milestone in the war, we remember that thousands of American troops and civilian personnel will remain in Iraq for the next year — helping train Iraqi forces, and offering advice and assistance to Iraq's security personnel. Here at home, we will support our service members still serving abroad, still working and sacrificing to ensure a future of peace and prosperity for all Iraqis. And we will continue to conduct oversight of all operations to ensure a complete withdrawal in a safe and timely manner.
As our combat mission comes to a close, a grateful nation thanks those in uniform who have fought in Iraq — and those who continue to bear any burden in the service of our country.