DOVER, Delaware (CNN) – Joe Biden spoke briefly but emotionally Friday morning at the deployment ceremony for his son Beau’s Iraq-bound National Guard unit.
“I’ve come here many times before,” Biden told the 261st Signal Brigade as they stood in formation. “As a Delawarean, as a United States senator. But today I come as you prepare to deploy as a father. A father who got some sage advice from his son this morning. “Dad, keep it short, we’re in formation.
Watch: Biden sends off son, troops
“I always listen to my general,” he continued. “So let me simply say, like all of the family members that are here today gathered on this green, my heart is full of love and pride.”
Biden didn’t get as choked up as he has in the past when talking about his family, but did show the emotion often seen on the campaign trail; his two-and-a-half minute remarks were filled with pregnant pauses, and delivered with a shaky voice. Biden wore his trademark aviator sunglasses during the entire event, except when speaking.
Related: Biden addresses ceremony
Thirty-nine-year-old Beau - a captain in the National Guard, and Delaware’s attorney general — is not immediately leaving for Iraq. He spends Friday and Saturday at home with his family before heading to Fort Bliss, Texas for additional training with his unit that will ship out for a year-long tour of duty in six to eight weeks.
Once in Iraq, Beau will be a prosecutor enforcing the Unified Code of Military Conduct in a unit that will provide communications for U.S. forces in the country.
Sarah Palin’s son Track deployed to Iraq September 11, a fact that Biden referenced in his closing remarks at Thursday night’s debate: "For both of us, selfishly, may God protect our troops."