(DOVER, DEL.) - Joe Biden left his campaign staff behind and traveled with family to his son's military departure ceremony, where Beau Biden and fellow soldiers said farewell to their families before heading off to war in Iraq.
"I come here as I have many times before -- as a Delawarian, as a United States Senator. But today I come at you prepared to deploy as a father," said Biden.
His son, Joseph "Beau" Robinette Biden III, also the Delaware Attorney General, leaves this week with the 261st Signal Brigade Mission of the Delaware National Guard.
Biden recognized himself as a father who received some "sage advice" from his son this morning.
"Dad, keep it short, we're in formation," Biden quoted his son as saying. "I always listen to my general."
Recognized as non-campaign event, Biden made remarks at the request of the Guard to the soldiers leaving for Texas, who will train and go on to a year-long deployment in Iraq.
"We take comfort in the knowledge that you are the best-trained, best-prepared group of citizen soldiers our country and our state has ever sent into harm's way," said Biden.
Beau Biden, who holds the rank of captain, will carry out a role as a military attorney overseas, but will also train with the rest of the troops for basic military duties.
Addressing the soldiers as they stood before him, Biden said there had never been a Delaware unit more qualified.
"You are the best demonstration of both our nation's greatness, and equally as important, our people's goodness," said Biden.
Over 100 soldiers stood in formation in front of Legislative Hall in Dover, where several hundred family members looked on, many holding small flags and handkerchiefs.
"Let me simply say, like all of the family members here today gathered on this green, my heart is full of love and pride," he said.
Biden flew late last night into Wilmington to be ready for this morning's event after debating Sarah Palin in the only vice presidential debate of the election season.
He made no mention of the upcoming election or his running mate, Barack Obama, and ended his remarks with appreciation for the soldiers readying themselves to join the war overseas.
"Let me simply say thank you, thank you for answering the call of your country, thank you for doing what brave men and women in the military have always done and always do," said Biden.
"Stand strong. Stand together. Serve honorably. Come home to your families that love you. May God bless you, and may he protect you."