Wounded Soldiers Return to Iraq, Seeking Solace

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returniraqnyt_150Rick Kell, of Troops First, comforted Sgt. John Hyland, who had returned to Iraq after losing a leg in an explosion in 2007. Photo: Joao Silva for The New York Times

By Rod Nordland The New York Times

The seven-day program, called Operation Proper Exit, has been kept quiet previously, partly because returning to a combat zone is considered a delicate experiment. For the eight wounded men who returned to Iraq this week, including five amputees and one blinded soldier, the hope is that returning to places many of them left while unconscious or in agony might reassure them that their losses have been worth it.

     

That appeared to be the case for retired Lt. Edwin Salau. He was one of eight wounded American veterans who lined up on Wednesday to meet Brig. Gen. Farhan Abbas, the Iraqi Army brigade commander in Diyala Province, where the Normandy base is located. “It’s an honor to be here and see all the progress,” Lieutenant Salau, whose prosthetic left leg was hidden beneath his baggy uniform, told the Iraqi general. “We gave a lot for your country and we’re glad for it.”

“You should wear your wounds like badges on your chest,” General Farhan said.

Read more at The New York Times

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