February 29th, 2012
10:35 AM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) –The war in Iraq ended without much fanfare, but months later President Obama and the first lady are hosting a dinner to pay tribute to the troops who served and the families who supported them.
Two hundred people are expected to attend the Wednesday night gala at the White House, including former Marine Eric Alva who in 2003 became the first service member wounded in the Iraq war. This won't be Alva's first trip to the White House. He also attended the president's signing ceremony of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in December 2010.
Other highly decorated Iraq veterans will also be honored.
Army Col. Peter Newell served two tours and was awarded Silver and Bronze Stars, a Joint Service Achievement Medal and Presidential Unit Citation.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Sebastian Ellis was awarded a Bronze star with Valor and Army Commendation Medal with Valor in his three tours of duty.
And Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nelson Visaya received the Distinguish Flying Cross and Air Medal with Valor awards during his two tours.
More than one million Americans served in Iraq and nearly 45-hundred were killed.
President Obama will deliver remarks at the dinner along with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
All branches of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves will be represented.