Washington DC, 21 March 2023 (TDI): The Commander of United States (US) Central Command (CENTCOM), General Michael Erik Kurilla, issued a statement commemorating the 20th anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, commonly known as the Iraq War.

The statement remembered and honored all of the brave servicemembers who fought during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It also paid tribute to the memories and legacies of the 4,418 American troops who gave their lives in that war and offered unwavering support to the families they left behind.

Furthermore, it pointed out that CENTCOM servicemembers continue to serve in Iraq as part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, at the invitation of the Iraqi Government.

Also, the US forces and coalition partners provide advice, assistance, and enable support to the Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against ISIS.

In addition, it commended the efforts of its Iraqi partners as they work to build their capability and capacity in the fight against terrorism.

“As we reflect on the events of the past twenty years, we remain committed to our mission of supporting our Iraqi partners and promoting regional security and stability,” said General Kurilla.

Iraqi soldiers proudly hold the American flag as a symbol of the strong partnership and shared sacrifices made between the United States and Iraq in the fight against terrorism

“We recognize that the sacrifices made during Operation Iraqi Freedom will always be a part of our history, and we honor the memory of those who gave their lives in service to our nation,” he further added.

Likewise, he also emphasized the continued commitment of CENTCOM and the Department of Defense to providing support to their Iraq War Veterans and their families.

In the same vein, he encouraged all Iraq Veterans to take advantage of the resources and benefits available to them through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“May we never forget the sacrifices made during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and may we always honor the memory of those who gave their lives in service to our nation,” Kurila concluded.

Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War)

On 20 March 2003, United States (US) President George W. Bush announced the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom—the invasion of Iraq by a multinational military coalition with the stated aims to disarm Iraq, free its people, and defend the world from grave danger.

The coalition began with preemptive airstrikes on Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace and military targets, followed by nearly 70,000 ground troops and 15,000 warships in the region.

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Since the invasion, Iraq has suffered protracted and devastating periods of conflict and has been riven by ethno-sectarian divisions. It remains politically and economically fragile. The invasion also had profound impacts on regional and international security.