Father of Northwest soldier killed in Iraq reacts to troop withdrawal

Oct 24, 2011
Originally published on October 21, 2011 5:09 pm

President Obama's announcement that all remaining U-S troops in Iraq will withdraw by the end of the year was welcome news at Joint Base Lewis-McChord .

The 420 Washington-based soldiers remaining there were already scheduled to return home. But the base has a long and painful history in Iraq.

Since the invasion in 2003, 200 soldiers and one airman from Joint Base Lewis-McChord have lost their lives there. The peak of the casualties came during the troop surge of 2007.

One of those was Sgt. Major Bradley Conner of north Idaho. He was killed on his fourth deployment to Iraq when an IED detonated near his vehicle. The 41-year-old was a husband and father and career Special Forces soldier.

His father, William Conner, calls the final troop withdrawal overdue.

"My thinking is they should have come home a long time ago," he says.

But Conner also says his son believed he was improving lives in Iraq.

"He told my wife and I both that it was worth it to see the change in some of the people."

Joint Base Lewis-McChord issued a statement that reads in part: "We're very proud of the contributions our Soldiers have made in the establishment of a safe and secure Iraq."

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