It was a historic send-off as Kentucky's largest single unit of the National Guard since World War II, leaves for Iraq. The state's highest in command, Gov. Ernie Fletcher was there to say goodbye.
The Guard's entire First Battalion, 149th infantry based in Barbourville were given a send-off at Knox Central High School earlier this evening. The 500 soldiers are mostly from Southeastern Kentucky.
Governor Fletcher was on hand to give some uplifting words to the soldiers and the families saying goodbye.
Fletcher said, "I talked about freedom, its a universal language, its a language regardless, of color of skin, regardless of even faith, ethnic background, regardless of what you were taught as a child, that rings true in your heart, it's a god given innate value that we all have, every individual in the world understands."
After these soldiers arrive in Iraq, there will be more than 1,100 Kentucky National Guard members there.