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Bruce Lindsay ReportingMembers of the Utah National Guard's 222nd Field Artillery Unit, based in Cedar City, leave tomorrow for Iraq. Before that good-bye the entire community got together to wish the "Triple Deuce" well.
It was a time for family, friends and farewell.
Sergeant Rick Bonzo: "They ride up Main Street and see the posters or the things up on Main Street. It means a lot to these guys, just people acknowledging their serving their country. A handshake, a pat on the back, it means a lot to them."
The people of Cedar City hosted a send-off celebration last night in honor of the 450 soldiers.
Mayor Gerald Sherrett,, Cedar City: "Everybody wants them to know they have our total support, and we're amazed and awed by their commitment."
The infantry soldiers spent the last six months training in Mississippi, where Sergeant Rick Bonzo says they gained a sense of identity, becoming a real army.
Rick Bozo: "They feel good about their self; they are proud of what they've gone through the last six months. They are glad to come home and get a little break. And then we're going to go over there and get 'er done and come home."
Governor Huntsman and his family attended the event. He said occasions like this bring out his emotional side.
Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.: "These are hard things for me. You might think I'm somehow aloof or far off in the corners of the state capitol. I've been thinking about his moment for several days now."
Through patriotic music, speeches and spirit, Southern Utahns displayed just how proud they are of their men.
Mayor Gerald Sherrett: "Our hope and prayers is that they will return, every one of them, back to Cedar City, and we'll stage an even bigger celebration."
Members of Triple Duece will be stationed in Iraq for twelve months.