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In a guard tower overlooking a now empty checkpoint at the base, Sgt. Ashley Vorhees and another soldier talked about what they looked forward to most in getting home. The 29-year-old Sgt. Vorhees planned to go for Mexican food at Rosa’s, a restaurant in Killeen, Texas. Another joy of home, she said: You don’t have to bring your weapon when you go to the bathroom.

At its height, Camp Adder boasted a Taco Bell, a KFC, an Italian restaurant and two Green Beans coffee shops. On Saturday, it felt empty, with abandoned volleyball and basketball courts and a gym called “House of Pain.” Hundreds of vehicles — trucks, buses — waited in a lot to be handed over to the Iraqi military, which is taking over the site. With the Americans gone, the base reverts to its former name, Imam Ali Air Base.

Despite Mr.  Obama’s earlier contention that all American troops would be home for Christmas, at least 4,000 forces will remain in Kuwait for some months. The troops could also be used as a quick reaction force if needed.

The U.S. plans to keep a robust diplomatic presence in Iraq, hoping to foster a lasting relationship with the nation and maintain a strong military force in the region. Mr. Obama met in Washington with Prime Minister al-Maliki last week and vowed to remain committed to Iraq as the two countries struggle to define their new relationship.

U.S. officials were unable to reach an agreement with the Iraqis on legal issues and troop immunity that would have allowed a small training and counterterrorism force to remain. U.S. defense officials said they expect there will be no movement on that issue until sometime next year.

Capt. Mark Askew, a 28-year-old from Tampa, Fla., who was among the last soldiers to leave, said the answer to the question of whether the Iraq war was worth the cost will depend on what type of country and government Iraq ends up with years from now, whether they are democratic, respect human rights and are considered an American ally.

“It depends on what Iraq does after we leave,” he said, speaking before the final convoy departed. “I don’t expect them to turn into South Korea or Japan overnight.”