Air Guardsmen Deploy

Another US soldier was gunned down today, killed during a surprise attack. The ambush follows a weekend of intense violence between coalition forces and enemy fighters in Iraq. A top US military official says the attacks in northern Iraq were well coordinated, and ended in a high death toll for enemy fighters.

US officials say 54 Iraqis died, many wearing uniforms from Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen militia.

Since the war began, Iraq has been a hotbed of violence. Our very own 165th Airlift Wing has been a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and came home again. But today, many of them headed back overseas, to an undisclosed location in southwest Asia.

With all the recent violence in the Middle East, these families are worried about their loved ones, but they say these men and women are prepared and they are very proud of them. For Julia Brown, saying goodbye twice to her husband Sylvester is bittersweet. "I don't like the idea of him being away from home but I'm proud of him," she said.

For Sylvester Brown, Sr., seeing his son fight for his country is a dream come true. "I encouraged him to join right after high school and he's been a member for the last 13 years," he said.

Almost two dozen men and women from the 165th Airlift Wing are being sent overseas, and many of them like Sylvester Brown are going to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom for the second, even third time this year.

"We certainly express appreciation to families and their sacrifices," said Lt. Col. Jerry Senn. "It's our hope and anticipation that they come home soon."

While two C-130 planes left for an undisclosed location, Guardsmen that are staying behind saluted their comrades and family members hoped for their safe return. "I'm very proud of him, of course," said the senior Sylvester Brown. "I have mixed emotions about him going and I'd like to have him back as soon as possible."

Officials hope to have the men and woman that left today back in the next 45 to 60 days.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com