Iraq War's impact on Central Texas - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Iraq War's impact on Central Texas


By: Stephanie Jacksis

CENTRAL TEXAS -  U.S. President Barack Obama announced the military has formally shut down the war in Iraq Thursday. 

It's been eight years since the conflict began to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction.  The war caused thousands of Fort Hood soldiers to be deployed overseas, which impacted Central Texas' economy.

Killeen Mayor Tim Hancock said without Fort Hood soldiers, businesses were not doing as well as they had in the years before the war.

"When you have 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers away from Fort Hood and out of this community," Hancock said, "It's naturally going to affect, because we don't have that spending power that they bring with them."

Officials said the city of Killeen saw a drop off in the number of new car sales, retail spending, and electronic sales.

But the economy wasn't the only one desperately needing soldiers to return.  Army families have suffered, as well.

"The reality is, army families have suffered a lot of trauma and loss over this nine year period," John Crutchfield said.  "Because many soldiers had multiple deployments."

The last of the troops will soon return home, and city officials said they're preparing for a huge influx of people.  Killeen is working on expanding Highway 190, which should help ease the increasing traffic.

"It'll be very easy to see," Crutchfield said. "You'll notice it in the traffic, in our business we'll see increase purchasing going on, so it'll be a very noticeable change."

The mayor said he's excited to have the troops back home.

"It's a good thing," Hancock said. "Not only for economics... It's a good thing because they're home safe and sound, and that's what we want more than anything else."

More than 850 1st Cavalry Division troops will be trickling back into Central Texas this week.


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