Relief marks North Coast reaction to Iraq troop pullout

  • PC: Photo by Mark Aronoff---The casket bearing Michael C. Ottolini (cq) is carried past bagpipers,family, friends and fellow soldiers to waiting hearse at Pleasant Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol Sunday at conclusion of service with full military honors. His widow and his father each received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for Ottolini's service and injuries.
    11/22/2004: A1: The casket bearing Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ottolini is carried past bagpipers, family, friends and fellow soldiers to a waiting hearse Sunday.

Jay Ottolini was glad to hear U.S. troops were pulling out of Iraq.

The retired Santa Rosa truck driver, whose younger brother Mike was killed by a roadside bomb in 2004, said the U.S. never should have been there in the first place.

"It's been hard," said Ottolini, who has a tattoo tribute to his brother on his left shoulder. "I hope they bring them all back."

Military families and elected officials across the North Coast expressed relief at President Obama's announcement Friday that all troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by year's end.

Many with a politically liberal point of view had the same thought — that the departure was long overdue, especially since the conflict was declared over last year.

Others said they hoped the move would signal the end of involvement in Afghanistan.

A combined 15 North Coast service members have died in the two countries since 2002.

"It's good news for anyone," said Herb Williams of Santa Rosa, whose son Jesse was killed in Iraq in 2007. "I'm glad to see Obama kept his word."

Linda Kynoch, the mother of Army Cpl. Joshua Kynoch, killed in Iraq in 2005, said she too was happy about the pullout.

Her 23-year-old son died about six months after the birth of his now 6-year-old daughter, also by a roadside bomb.

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