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(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today praised the men and women of the 197th Fires Brigade during remarks at the New Hampshire National Guard deployment ceremony in Manchester.  The troops of the 197th Fires Brigade are beginning a year-long deployment in support of Operation New Dawn, during which they will be based primarily in Kuwait and will provide convoy security for personnel and materials as they are moved into and out of Iraq.  The mission is the largest deployment of New Hampshire Guardsmen and women since World War II.

"The entire state of New Hampshire is proud of the service and sacrifice of our National Guardsmen and women, and it is an honor to have the opportunity to recognize and salute these brave Americans and their families," said Shaheen.  "The deployment of the 197th Fires Brigade comes at an historic and critical moment for the people of Iraq and American interests in the region, and our nation will always be grateful to those who stepped up to shoulder this responsibility."   

Approximately 2,400 troops will deploy as part of the 197th Fires Brigade, with more than 700 coming from New Hampshire.  The Brigade will be assisting with the biggest movement of material since the end of World War II as the U.S. transitions from combat operations in Iraq to training and support missions.   

Shaheen visited Iraq and Kuwait earlier this year, where she had the opportunity to personally see some of the supply convoys that the 197th Fires Brigade will be supporting.  After spending the Fourth of July with U.S. troops at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, Shaheen spent two days in Iraq visiting with U.S. troops and military commanders to discuss security conditions in the country and the ongoing redeployment of America's military.