By RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Writer Fri Sep 5, 4:50 PM ET
WASHINGTON – Iraq is about to become an unusual common ground for the presidential candidates, despite its divisiveness as a campaign issue. Sons of both vice presidential nominees are expected to arrive there soon to join the fighting. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin‘s eldest son, Track, will perform security duties for his brigade’s top officers.
“He’s just like any other infantry soldier here,” said Army Col. Burt Thompson, who heads the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. “He tries to remain as anonymous as he possibly can.”
The deployments of Track Palin and Beau Biden, son of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, make the subject an intensely personal one, nevertheless, for their families.
Beau Biden, who is Delaware’s attorney general, is a captain in the Delaware National Guard and will work as a military lawyer in Iraq.
John McCain’s son Jimmy, a Marine, returned earlier this year from Iraq. Another McCain son, Jack, is a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Citing security restrictions, the Army will not say where in Iraq Palin’s or Biden’s units are being sent. Both units are scheduled to be in Iraq for 12 months. Palin’s unit is believed to be headed to Diyala, among the most dangerous of Iraq’s 18 provinces. It extends from the northeastern suburbs of Baghdad to the Iranian border. Diyala has proven to be difficult to control because it is heavily mixed with Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds. Diyala was the fourth most violent of Iraq’s provinces, averaging more than 3.5 attacks each day, according to figures from June. It has not been returned to Iraqi control and probably won’t be before next year.
Track Palin and Beau Biden have received no special considerations, the Army said. Nor will they. “Absolutely not,” said Capt. John Atwell, Palin’s company commander.
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