So after training up my replacement for eight days, and introducing him to all the people (US military, State Dept, NATO, UNAMI, Iraqis) we interact with, I departed the international zone (and left my responsibilities behind) on Saturday, 19 June.
I'm excited to get home and back to the real world, but will miss the mission and the people I worked with. We had a little going away party on Friday the 18th over at the Embassy. We ate dinner and watched the first half of USA vs. Slovenia, had a private little going away ceremony during halftime, then watched as the US caught back up from a 0-2 deficit and ended with a tie. Here's a pic of me and my replacement just before my departure.
Of course flying home from here is never simple. It looks like I'll fly from Baghdad to Qatar on Thursday, then depart Qatar Sunday for a Monday morning (28 Jun) arrival in DC. Then I'll be working on getting things in order for the move to California. I'm looking forward to being settled in there around the end of July.
I think Iraq has changed for the better since I've been here. I hope the trend continues. They have the potential to be a great nation if they can leave their squabbles behind and work together. I guess this will be my last post on this blog. I've become a part of the facebook nation. Will be in touch with you there.