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Ironduke
06 Jan 04,, 01:47
Hood troops head to Iraq

Associated Press


KILLEEN, Texas — About 250 Fort Hood, Texas, soldiers left Saturday for Iraq to relieve active duty troops and reservists returning home from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Maj. James Woods said the soldiers were the first of several thousand Fort Hood soldiers who will be deployed this month.

Troop deployments from other military installations also are expected. On Friday, 49 members of a medical team at Brooke Army Medical Center were deployed.

The soldiers who left Saturday were the first from III Corps headquarters to head to Iraq. They will be replacing troops from V Corps, based in Germany, who have been coordinating the U.S.-led peacekeeping mission, Woods said.

“They’ve got everything built, and we’re just going to move in,” he told the San Antonio Express-News for its Sunday editions. “It’s pretty much a one-for-one swap.”

Woods said the III Corps troops will be in Iraq for about a year. Their main duties will be to coordinate civil affairs, intelligence and communications for the peacekeeping effort.

“We’re just going to go and do what we have to do and get back,” said Spc. Meredith Maxam, 26.

The unit’s deployment date marks her six-month anniversary with her husband who also will be deployed in February.

Many families bid farewell to their loved ones at a Saturday night ceremony for the soldiers. With music blaring over the sound system, parents played Frisbee and hide-and-seek with their children and newlyweds shared a few last kisses.

About two dozen friends and relatives of Pfc. Christian Borges, 20, cheered as he walked into the room.

“They always show their support,” he said. “They’re my inspiration.”

Borges’ father is a sergeant major who is already is serving in Iraq.

“He told me just to take one day at a time,” Borges said.

http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2527005.php