Air Force Unit Based in Florida Heads for Iraq for Fourth Time

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EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) - An Air Force unit based in Florida is headed for Iraq for the fourth time.

The deployment of the 728th Air Control Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida's Panhandle was already decided before President Bush said he will send an additional 21,500 troops to the country he ordered invaded four years ago.

The Florida unit has served in Iraq three times since 2003. It headed out before dawn today after tearful farewells -- again -- from family and friends.

Michael O'Hanlon is a foreign policy analyst at the Brookings Institution and served as an adviser to the Iraq Study Group. He says a typical soldier in a combat brigade deploys about once every three years.

He says a fourth deployment is rare, but not unusual for specialized units and for Marines.

But O'Hanlon says fourth deployments will become more common with the president's plan for troop increases.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)