ANAHEIM (AP) — More than 500 members of the California National Guard have gathered in Orange County to say goodbye to family and friends before they ship out to Iraq.

The deployment ceremony Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center is for the 640th Aviation Support Battalion.

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On Sunday the citizen soldiers will muster at Fort Hood, Texas, for final training and preparations.

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City News Service reports the soldiers are from across California.

Once they arrive near Baghdad later this month, they will replace another part of the 640th Battalion, as well as the 1-140th Air Assault Battalion, which deployed to Iraq from Los Angeles last month.

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