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150 CA National Guard soldiers headed for Iraq

More than 150 California National Guard soldiers are headed to Iraq today. A going-away ceremony was held for the soldiers and their families at a San Diego Armory. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

(Ambience: Family members chatting
A large American flag was raised inside the main auditorium as family and friends prepared for the departure of the all-male National Guard Infantry unit. One-hundred-and-sixty soldiers will be in Iraq for a year. Lieutenant Colonel Tom Lasser says the guardsmen are part of a special combat team.

You're basic soldiers. The guys that carry the rifles with the bayonets, gets their boots dirty. The army is built on infantrymen, the marines are built around infantrymen. They're the guys that do the dirty work.

The troops will provide security and support for a military police brigade in Iraq. The California National Guard is primarily deployed for floods, fires, earthquakes and riots inside the state. Currently four-thousand guard troops are deployed outside California. Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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