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On the Trail / DUTY CALLS

Biden bids farewell to Iraq-bound son

October 04, 2008|Michael Finnegan

DOVER, DEL. — A day after the vice presidential debate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware took a break from the campaign Friday to bid farewell to a son leaving for military duty in Iraq.

Delaware Atty. Gen. Beau Biden, 39, is a captain in the Army National Guard's 261st Signal Brigade, which leaves Sunday for a yearlong tour.

The Democrats' vice presidential nominee, known for being talkative, said at the deployment ceremony that his son gave him sage advice: "Keep it short, Dad. We're in formation."

"Never before has a Delaware guard unit been deployed that is better qualified," Sen. Biden said. "You are the best demonstration of both our nation's greatness and . . . our people's goodness."

Beau Biden, who paid tribute to his father at the Democratic National Convention in August, was elected attorney general in 2006.

Jose Soriano of Harrington, Del., whose 33-year-old son, Tristan, also is in the National Guard unit leaving for Iraq, applauded the Bidens for not "pulling strings" to avoid deployment. "It's the Guard," he said. "You do your duty."

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican nominee for vice president, spoke last month at a deployment ceremony near Fairbanks for an Iraq-bound unit that includes her 19-year-old son, Track.

-- Michael Finnegan

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