On a day devoted to independence, the town of Daleville collected in the local high school for a proper send off on this national holiday.
The First Battalion, 131st Armor Unit, also known as "Team Vandal," started their deployment overseas.
"It's sort of ironic that we're being deployed on the fourth of July, but if they had to take care of business back then, then we have to take care of business now," said SFC Brian Brookshire.
Many of the unit's members have served overseas; 110 of them have deployed in some way already. Although the troops face danger ahead, friends and family came to celebrate and send the soldiers on their way.
"I spent 5 years in Vietnam. We didn't get this kind of send off. That's why I'm very proud to be here, to be able to do this," said John Langhammer, a Vietnam veteran.
173 troops left for Fort Dix today, where they will spend 2 1/2 months. After that, they'll fly over to Iraq and serve on the ground for an additional 10 months.