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Military

Iraq War Takes Its Toll On San Diego's Military

Lance Corp Gerry Murphy, front, prays for a fellow Marine killed in action during a memorial service February 6, 2009 at Camp Pendleton, California.
Sandy Huffaker
Lance Corp Gerry Murphy, front, prays for a fellow Marine killed in action during a memorial service February 6, 2009 at Camp Pendleton, California.

President Obama declared the end of combat operations in Iraq last night. The seven-year war has taken its toll in San Diego County.

Thousands of Marines, sailors and soldiers who were deployed, and redeployed to Iraq were based in San Diego County. As of August 31, 575 locally-based troops and residents have been killed in Iraq, and more than 1,000 wounded, according to the Associated Press Iraq War casualty database.

Kathryn Venable, local leader of Blue Star Mothers of America -- a local support group for military families, said her son is in the Army and served two tours of duty in Iraq. Venable said her son returned home safely both times, but she's shared the grief of other local mothers who lost their children. Venable had mixed feelings about the president's announcement.

"Wonderful that the combat portion is over, however I know that the support effort is going to be there for a long time," she said. "And so that doesn't mean that our children won't go there anymore, and it doesn't mean they're not in harm's way."

Most local troops who served in Iraq were from the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. They took part in some of the war's fiercest fights, including the battle for the city of Fallujah.

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