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Local Nat'l Guard soldiers deploy for Iraq

August 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Families cherished emotional last moments with loved ones Tuesday as hundreds of soldiers from a National Guard unit based in Los Alamitos shipped off for Iraq.28-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Winstead prepared for a year apart from his family as he said goodbye to his wife and two sons on the tarmac of the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.

"I love them and I'll miss them," said Winstead. "That's the hardest part of deployment for me is leaving them."

Winstead is no stranger to the hardships of being deployed away from his family. During his first deployment he missed the birth of his first son. This time he will miss another milestone - the birth of his third child, due next March.

He is among 300 other National Guard soldiers being deployed from Los Alamitos. They will first head to Fort Hood in Texas before going to Iraq, where they will mostly fly and maintain Blackhawk helicopters and help move troops and supplies.

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