I thought this was the appropriate closure to OIF.

The Last Day of OIF

Boys, so many of you did not make it to see this day. I love you and miss you much. I donít know what is going to happen tomorrow. Iraq is still a mess, but, officially, the U.S. heavy involvement is done. I wish that you were here to see it. I wish that I could write a letter to each one of you, but I canít. Thereís too many- 30 of yíall to date not counting Afghanistan. Iím gonna start at the beginning.

Today is a strange day. The Army promoted me to Major. Andy Hilmes is about to be a battalion commander. Can you believe that? Iím gonna be who I set out to be. I promised yíall that I would do my best. I stayed the course.

SSG Stevon A. Booker 34, of Apollo, Pennsylvania
Killed by enemy fire in Iraq during a raid into Baghdad. He was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Fort Stewart, Georgia. Died on April 5, 2003.

Book,

Damn brother. It was nine years ago that you and I had staff duty together. I was the cocky West Point grad, rugby player, and 2LT; you were the even cockier tank commander. I loved hanging out with you that night, and I appreciated you taking me under your wing. Dude, you helped me so much as a young officer- your words on leadership and the technical aspects of tanks seared into my memory to this day.

Yeah, you beat me to Baghdad by two days. You were the second tank on the original Thunder Runs. Bobby Ball was leading. After you got shot, we continued on to finish the job. I was close behind flanking first from the west into Baghdad on the 7th. Gilliam was never the same. I suppose that none of us were ever the same.

We took down Baghdad and headed home. Iraq descended into chaos. Your mom and sister showed up to your memorial. I almost lost it. Your sisterís smile is as loud as yours. I saw your ghost and shadow in one moment.

Brother, a lot has happened since we last met. Iraq went downhill fast. 3ID was called again and again and again to fix it. For a bit, I was Wildbunchís XO. Then, I moved over to the 82nd to lead some paratroopers. We fixed Iraq as best as we could. Now, itís up to the locals.

I realize that you were probably watching over us this whole time, but I just wanted to write you tonight.

-Mike