More than 150 Arizona soldiers leave for Iraq

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PHOENIX -- More than 100 Arizona National Guardsmen said good-bye to their families Thursday morning as they prepared for an 18-month deployment to Iraq.

Second tour for most

Iraq tour will be second for many Arizona Guardsmen - More than 100 Arizona National Guardsmen said good-bye to their families Thursday morning as they prepared for an 18-month deployment to Iraq.

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This will be the second tour for most members of the 3666th Support Maintenance Company. They were in Iraq from December 2003 to March 2005.

At Thursday morning's send-off ceremony at the 52nd Street Armory, some family members said saying good-bye the second time is not any easier.

"I know where they're going this time. They're going back to the same base. So, that's easier," said Anita Jones, whose husband is being deployed. "But still, they're in a war zone. Our son is in Afghanistan. So, it's like I'm on both sides watching him."

For many of the family members left behind, it's the simple day-to-day things -- things we usually take for granted -- that they'll miss the most.

"[I'll miss] piling on a couch while watching a movie, even though we have three couches," said Chloe Hewitt, the young daughter of a soldier.

The 165-member unit will first spend a month or so training at Camp Atterbury in Indiana before heading to Iraq.

The 3666th mission is to provide direct maintenance support to warfighters and to ensure they can complete their mission in Iraq. The unit can provide maintenance for such items as radios, small arms, generators, vehicles of all types, radar systems, welding, air conditioning, carpentry and computers.