Chicago-area vets, families react to troop withdrawal

October 21, 2011 8:28:36 PM PDT
More than 4,400 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the war started on March 19, 2003. More than 32,000 troops have been wounded.

According to the Department of Defense, the total cost so far is more than $715 billion.

So has the Iraq War been worth the cost? ABC7's Stacey Baca asked some veterans and their families in the Chicago area.

It's been eight years since Army Specialist Roy Buckley of Portage, Indiana, died in Iraq. His sister and brother looked at snapshots of his life as they learned the news that the Iraq mission will soon come to an end.

"They gave their all, like they say - some gave all, all gave some," said Charles Calvin, brother.

Calvin says Buckley wanted to be in Iraq. But his sister isn't convinced the cause was worth dying for, especially because there were no weapons of mass destruction.

"We never found it. To me, a lot of lives could have been saved by not going there," said Catrena Morris, sister.

Among Iraqi vets, there is pride. Tammy Duckworth, who is now running for the 8th Congressional District, lost both legs after a rocket-propelled grenade struck her helicopter.

"I'm proud of my service...I would go again if I got the call," said Duckworth.

For others who served, coming home is an idea until it happens. Corporal Alex Brown of Morton Grove returned home a month ago and just got a job Friday.

"I won't be happy until when we're on the plane and taking off and then we have to stay another three months," said Brown.

Today in Iraq, there are still boots on the ground, as they say in the military. Specialist Thattus McMurray of Portage left for a one-year deployment in February. His daughter is nine months old. Friday's announcement means he will hopefully be home sooner than expected.

"Her first Thanksgiving, her first Christmas, it's everything. He'll miss her first Halloween, but that's not really much. I'm excited that he'll be home to see everything," said Jessica McMurray, soldier's wife.

McMurray is serving with the Indiana National Guard's 9-38th military police detachment, which has 45 members. Right now, the Illinois National Guard has 170 soldiers in Iraq.

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