Alabama Guard Units

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It was an emotional weekend for hundreds of families who said goodbye to soldiers headed to Iraq.

A deployment ceremony was held Sunday in Prattville for members of the 231st Military Police Battalion. The 70 soldiers will depart Monday for additional training at Fort Benning, Georgia. A Guard spokesman said the 231st will provide command and control for hundreds of military police already in Iraq.

Gov. Bob Riley told the soldiers, "They are carrying on a tradition that goes back more than 200 years."

On Saturday, several thousand people gave a thunderous, emotional send-off in Mobile to one of Alabama's largest Army National Guard groups headed for Iraq.

Lieutenant Gov. Lucy Baxley drew standing ovations when she distributed Alabama state flags to each company in the 711th Signal Battalion that has more than 700 members statewide.

Another deployment ceremony was held Saturday in Huntsville for 140 Army reservists assigned to the 926th Engineer Battalion.

Alabama has more than 7,800 guard personnel on active duty in the war on terrorism. An additional 2,000 Army reservists also have been called to active duty.