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Thanks to our troops

An emotional week in Iraq proves golf is a common bond

February 2008

As part of Operation Links, a USO goodwill trip started by PGA Tour player Frank Lickliter in 2006, I spent Thanksgiving week in Iraq with Tom Watson, David Feherty, Tom Lehman, Howard Twitty and Joe Inman (Read more about "Operation Links"). We went to 10 U.S. military bases, meeting our troops, talking golf, hearing about their lives and their work over there. What an amazing group of young men and women we have in our military today.

At every base we hit balls with the troops on makeshift ranges--into the Iraqi desert, off the massive Haditha Dam, at a range built to honor a fallen commander in Baghdad (a few blocks from Saddam's palace, now command headquarters). We couldn't believe how thankful our soldiers were that we made the trip. As a former Army guy in Vietnam, this was the most humbling and emotional experience of my life.

Holding a shell for an M1A Abrams Tank with a crew member at Camp Fallujah.
Tom Watson driving off the Haditha Dam, which creates a third of the country's electricity.
My first look at Iraq from a C-130 cargo aircraft.
Debarking the amazing V-22 Osprey, which takes off like a helicopter then flies like a plane.
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