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RED BULLS: 'Earthpig 30' closing down the war

Soldiers from Third Squad, First Platoon, "Earthpig 30," Charlie Company, 1/34th1 / 2
Pfc. Zachery Roquet from Charlie Company, 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalio2 / 2

IRAQ — Convoy Escort Team “Earthpig 30” from Charlie Company 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. attached to 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division “Red Bulls.” conducted a convoy escort mission from Camp Buehring, Kuwait, to Victory Base Complex, Iraq, Nov. 16. “Earthpig 30” is currently deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in support of Operation New Dawn and will provide security in the final months of the drawdown in Iraq.

During “Earthpig 30’s” most recent mission to Victory Base Complex, they saw how much the bases have changed since the start of the drawdown in Iraq. The bases in Iraq could be compared to small cities. They have shopping areas, small restaurants, gyms, and USO and MWR buildings all to occupy soldiers on their down time. In recent months, these thriving little cities in the Iraqi desert have become ghost towns. Due to the Dec. 31 drawdown deadline, bases in Iraq are shutting down, and the few that are still open only have the bare minimum resources to stay open.

“We used to be able to go to the gym and work out or find something to do at the MWR on our off time between missions. Now it’s all closed down.” said Sgt. Mark Weekly, a truck commander for 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1/34th BSTB, attached to 1-94 CAV.

Victory Base Complex saw a dramatic change since their last visit. The post exchange, gyms and MWR were all closed. The once lavish chow hall they visited a month earlier was now stripped down to provide only the bare necessities. The two-person rooms they shared on their last visit were exchanged for a giant tent.

“It tastes like drawdown,” said Pvt. Garret Denne, a gunner from 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1/34th BSTB, attached to 1-94 CAV. “You can sense it in the air. Whoever is left is excited, because they know they are going home. It’s a tangible feeling in the air; you can almost taste it.”

The fact is, after eight long years in Iraq, things are finally shutting down. Equipment is being moved out, base doors are closing, and soldiers are going home.

“It’s good to know that I am helping close down this war” said Denne.