Guess who's coming to the Iraq dinner
February 23rd, 2012
07:28 PM ET

Guess who's coming to the Iraq dinner

By Chris Lawrence

The Pentagon released the list of the 78 members of the armed forces who are invited to next week's White House dinner to honor Iraq veterans. (Read the list here)

The February 29 dinner, hosted by President Barack Obama and the first lady, will "recognize the significant contributions of the men and women in uniform who served" and their families, according to the Pentagon statement.

But how to select fewer than 100 people to represent the hundreds of thousands who served in Iraq? That was the dilemma facing the Pentagon, as it tried to come up with a list of American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airman who would be invited.The Pentagon put an emphasis on diversity, aiming to represent the entire spectrum of troops that fought in Iraq over eight years.  All states are represented too.

"Old, young, male, female, gay, straight. We wanted the entire country represented," said Pentagon spokesman Doug Wilson. "That means all ranks, all branches of service, all races. We wanted it to look like the battlefield in Iraq."

Most of the invitees will be non-commissioned officers, reflecting a greater emphasis on enlisted troops rather than officers, CNN was told.

There will be several openly gay troops, reflecting the recent change in policy to do away with the "don't ask, don't tell" provision that had governed the military since the 1990s.

The Defense Department will cover the costs of flying the troops and their families to Washington and one night of hotel. At least one service member is currently serving in Afghanistan, and will be flown back for the event.

"For what they did, it's just a minor drop in the bucket," said Wilson. "This is the beginning of a 'thank you.'"

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the chiefs of the military services also will attend.

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Filed under: Iraq • Military • Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. mm

    Job well done and welcome home!

    February 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply

    serve journey to them.

    February 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
  3. michaelfury

    February 24, 2012 at 7:57 am | Reply
  4. michaelfury

    February 24, 2012 at 7:54 am | Reply
  5. Out Of Control To The Final Boom Boom Bang End

    I say, let's just get it over with and have WW3. Only then will people see the dirty evil zionists for what they are. Only then, after billions of people are nuked, will dumb goyims learn that the zionists are not our friends and the sole reason for all this hate in the world. Until, then enjoy the obama monkey show.

    Stay dumb and dumber, the zionists like you that way. Hey, look at my thumb, gee, you're dumb.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
    • Shadow knows

      out of control I can see that you never read the bible, God will protect the holy land and its people anyone that is trying to take over Israel will die in gods hand SHAME ON YOU!!!! it was foretell everything that was in bible Its true, things must happen im on Israels side

      February 25, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
      • bobby

        So you’re saying everything in bible is true? So every human came from just two people? Let’s see how that works with all that inbreeding. Just one of many very false statements that the bible has.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:30 am |

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