FAIRBANKS - Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican nominee for vice president, described the Iraq war as a "righteous cause" and created a media sensation at Forth Wainwright as she spoke at the combat deployment ceremony for her son's Army unit.
"We're gonna miss you. We can't help it, we're gonna miss you," Palin told the troops Thursday.
Palin's 19-year-old son, Track, was among the more than 4,000 soldiers in the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team listening to her remarks. She's mentioned him often on the campaign trail and got big applause in her speech last week at the Republican National Convention when she said: "one week from tomorrow - September 11th - he'll deploy to Iraq with the Army infantry in the service of his country."
Thursday's deployment ceremony was held on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., but Private First Class Track Palin and his unit won't actually ship overseas until later this month, according to military officials. Once the group gets to the country, they will be in northern Iraq, likely the province of Diyala, and Track Palin will help provide security for the brigade's commander and deputy commander. The unit will be in Iraq for a year.
Major Chris Hyde, brigade spokesman, said the unit is not changing Track Palin's assignment or taking any other special steps now that he's the son of a vice presidential candidate.
Track Palin wants to "pave his own way in life," Hyde said, and not to be known as the son of the governor and vice presidential candidate.
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