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By US Army Reserve Colonel (Retired) Ann Wright

I am returning to Fayetteville on March 17 for the first time in over twenty years. I spent three years on active duty at Fort Bragg as an instructor at the Special Warfare Center and as the Executive Officer of the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, Special Operations Command.

During my time at Fort Bragg, I deployed to Grenada on the 18th Airborne Corps international law team and was a member of the US Army claims commission in Grenada. I stayed for four months and helped reestablish governmental functions and assisted with economic development programs. I ended up being in the US Army and Army Reserves for a total of 29 years and retired as a Colonel.

I then joined the US diplomatic corps and served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Mongolia and Afghanistan. I was on the first State Department team to reopen the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December, 2001 after the CIA and US military pushed the Taliban out of Kabul and had al-Qaeda heading for the Tora Bora mountains.

Ironically, after serving in 8 presidential administrations either in the US military or in the US diplomatic corps, I am returning to Fayetteville to participate in the rally and march to end the war on Iraq.

Why would a 29 year retired US Army Colonel be marching to end the war?

Well, in March, 2003, four years ago as the war on Iraq began, I resigned from the US diplomatic corps in opposition to the war. I was one of three US government employees who resigned. That’s why I am marching to end the war-I gave up my career over the war.

The rally and march in Fayetteville, the home of one of the largest military bases in the United States, is not a march against the service men and women in our military. If it were, I would not participate.

Instead, the march is to call for an end of the administration’s policy that placed our military in Iraq in the first place and secondly to demand that our servicemen and women be provided with proper care when they return.

On March fifth I attended the Congressional hearing in the Walter Reed Hospital auditorium concerning the conditions at Walter Reed for our wounded military and how the transition from active duty medical care to Veterans Administration care can be done much, much more effectively.

While some may disagree with our view that the war in Iraq must end, we will be in the streets of Fayetteville in solidarity with our active duty colleagues demanding better care for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. That we all can agree on.

About the Author: Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army (13 years on active duty and 16 years in the Army Reserves) and retired as a Colonel. She also worked for 16 years as a US diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She was awarded the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions in the evacuation of 2500 members of the international community and Sierra Leone government during the invasion of rebels into the capital city of Freetown in May, 1997. She resigned from the US diplomatic corps in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.