Biden Sends Son, Troops Off For Iraq

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. speaks at South Lake High School in St. Clair Shores, Mich., Monday, Sept. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told his son and other Delaware National Guardsmen "my heart is full of love and pride" as their unit prepared Friday to leave for an assignment in Iraq.

At a farewell ceremony outside the state capitol, Biden told the assembled members of 261st Signal Brigade that "we take comfort in the knowledge that you are the best prepared citizen soldiers" the nation has ever sent into harm's way.

Biden's son, Beau, is Delaware's attorney general and also serves as a captain and a lawyer in the unit. The unit leaves Sunday for Fort Bliss, Texas, where it will train for six weeks before heading to Iraq.

The unit's members and their service are "the best demonstration of our nation's greatness and our people's goodness," Biden said.

The normally loquacious senator spoke only briefly, advising his audience at the outset that he would heed the advice of his son, who Biden said told him: "Dad, keep it short. We're in formation."

"Thank you, thank you for answering the call of your country," Biden closed. "Stand strong."

On Sept. 11 at Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks, Alaska, Biden's Republican rival for the vice presidency, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin delivered a 15-minute farewell talk to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which includes her oldest son, Track, a 19-year-old private first class. She told the unit its yearlong assignment to northern Iraq would be a "defense of America, in America's cause. And it's a righteous cause." She did not mention her son.
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