November 20th, 2008
09:40 AM ET
5 years ago

Beau Biden ships out to Iraq

Capt. Beau Biden left for Iraq Wednesday with his Delaware National Guard Unit.
Capt. Beau Biden left for Iraq Wednesday with his Delaware National Guard Unit.

(CNN) – Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s eldest son Beau left his training base in Texas on Wednesday, bound for a year-long tour of duty in Iraq with his Delaware National Guard unit.

The 114 members of the 261st Signal Brigade were training at Fort Bliss, Texas for the past two months ahead of their mobilization to Iraq. Captain Beau Biden, also Delaware’s attorney general, will serve as an assistant Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer in Iraq, enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice and helping troops with legal issues back home.

On their way to Iraq, the unit will make two stops before arriving at a staging area outside of Iraq where they will receive additional training and equipment. The location of the staging area is classified, though most U.S. troops stage in Kuwait before going into Iraq.

The Vice President-elect was able to see his son one last time before his mobilization last weekend in Nevada when the unit had ‘R&R’ leave.

Beau was also given special permission to fly to Chicago to join his family on Election Day but declined, instead watching the returns and President-elect Barack Obama’s speech on a laptop at Fort Bliss.

“This is a different brand of kid,” his father remarked to reporters on the flight to Chicago.

Joe Biden often gets emotional when talking about his family and fought back tears during brief remarks at Beau’s deployment ceremony in Dover, Delaware on October 3.

“I’ve come here many times before – as a Delawarean, as a United States senator. But today I come as you prepare to deploy as a father,” Biden told the soldiers and their families gathered in front of the Capitol building. “Like all of the family members that are here today gathered on this green, my heart is full of love and pride.”

“Never before has a Delaware guard unit been deployed that is better qualified,” he added. “You are the best demonstration of both our nation’s greatness and, equally as importantly, our people’s goodness.”

Beau will return to Delaware next September and though he has tried to tamp down speculation, rumors are swirling about the possibility of his running for his father’s Senate seat in 2010.


Filed under: Beau Biden • Joe Biden
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Red State Republican who voted for CHANGE!

    To all of our brave men and women serving for this great country!

    We wish you God-speed, safety, and the endurance of your mind and soul that we know you will need.

    November 20, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. laura

    Good luck Beau and all the solders. Stay safe

    November 20, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Gaylon Barrow

    Yes I have one: VP JOE BIDEN DO NOT LET OBAMA DESTROY OUR MILITARY. WE DO NOT NEED ANY MORE FAILED WARS, LOSS OF LIVES, DESTROYING OF PROPERTY WITHOUT WINNING. SOON OUR TROOPS WILL DEPART FOR WAR WITH AN ALREADY DEFEATED ATTITUDE. TAKE IT FROM THIS OLD VETERAN OF 28-YEARS IN THE U.S. ARMY. FAILURE WILL NOT SUCCEED FOR THE SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES. A SOLDIER FIGHTS TO WIN NOT LOSE. RUNNING OUT OF VIET NAM. BEING RAN OUT OF SOMOLLIA, THE 36TH PARRELL IN KOREA. STOPPING IN DESERT STORM BEFORE THE WAR WAS OVER. NEED I GO ON. WHAT HAS ANY OF THESE BATTLES DONE FOR US EXCEPT DESTROY OUR MORAL. WHEN THE AMERICANS AT HOME DO NOT HAVE THE STOMACH FOR WAR. I REALIZE WHAT IS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY IS THE PRODUCT OF THE FLOWER CHILDREN. BUT IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO GROW UP.

    November 20, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. JIM...TX

    If it wasn't for Bush's policy of INFLICTING democracy on the world we wouldn't be hated by everyone outside of the US and wouldn't be sending ANY of our young people off to fight this illegal war.

    November 20, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Shawn - Portland Oregon

    God speed, Beau. You'll be in our prayers along with the other brave troops.

    November 20, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Reality

    Lets call it what it is people.

    He is in a non combat unit well out of harms way. Minorities and poor soldiers should be so lucky. No OUR sons and daughters get to serve as the human shield for little Biden. The only reason he is going is because we all know it helps your political career to serve in the armed forces. He is being groomed for the oval office. That is the ONLY reason, and papa Biden will bring him back asap.

    Is this change? How can America have been so blind? Even amidst all the cheerleading the media did I had higher expectations for Americans. What a sad, doomed, era we live in.

    November 20, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Noah

    I wish this kid all the best in the world, but I cannot help but think back to several months ago when Sarah palin was shipping her son off to Iraq. All of your heartless Liberals who are now pretending to care about the soldiers were screaming that it was completely horible of her as a mother to let her son go to war. You also said that she was trying to gain political points for attending his departure but had nothing but praise for joe Biden when he attended his son's departure ceremony. You are the biggest hypocrites

    November 20, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Simmy

    Godspeed to you, Capt. Biden!

    We will be praying for your success, and safe return home!

    Blessed be your family as they wait for you!

    God Bless America!

    November 20, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Cindy, California

    I agree with others who think it unwise to send high-profile sons to the war in Iraq.

    But then, it just occurred to me that if 'politics' is a future fate for any of these young men, well, they would be thrashed by their opponent for not having served in the war with much the same BS we've heard before: 'daddy bought your way out of fighting in the war; how un-patriotic not to serve your country, etc. It just seems that what we are arguing today, we will be defending tomorrow.

    And what will we say if one of these young men — whether his last name is Biden, McCain, or Palin — should not return home. How devastatingly sad and painful that would be for his family. But it seems these are the tragedies that grab national attention.

    What about all the young men who have died fighting the war in Iraq — the ones returning home in coffins, those whom we have been denied seeing. Or, what about the ones returning with missing limbs, and other ailments that we remain largely unaware.

    November 20, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Matt from Minnesota

    Good Luck Beau and godspeed to you and everyone out there in the military. Come home safe!

    November 20, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Proud American from New England

    And why didn't Bush's kids lift a finger to support their country while Daddy was in office?

    November 20, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. GObama!!!

    May God Bless you, Beau. Be well, and many safe returns. And hopefully they will have a senate seat waiting for you when you get back.

    November 20, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Stu-Florida

    Character is like a tree and reputation like it's shadow...
    The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing...

    Be safe Beau... be safe all... because of you ALL we'll have a Happy Thanksgiving. WE hope you ALL do too!

    November 20, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. louise, SAnta Barbara, CA

    GOOD LUCK, BEAU, AND MAY GOD SPEED YOUR SAFE RETURN

    November 20, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Truth Hurts

    God Bless Beau Biden and his family!! May the Lord keep him and strenghten him for this journey!!

    November 20, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Oma

    Come back safe, Beau, sooner rather than later.

    November 20, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Cruzan Obama Mama

    Beau...May God be with you and protect you.

    Man, you people can find anything to be negative about. Regardless if he is going to push papers at a desk...he is still going. Where will you be? He is going to be away from his family & home during the holidays whether he is at a desk or not. Grow the hell up!!!!

    You praise Palin's son (who was used as one of her many selling points, as all her children were), but Biden's son is nothing. The sympathy/hypocritical bais given to that woman during this campaign has been mind boggling to me. SORE LOSERS!!!!!!

    November 20, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Vincent, Great Lakes IL

    Ron wrote: "lets not get too excited, its not like he's in a combat unit. He's just a lawyer and is at not going to be in harm's way."

    That is not how things work. Back in May, An Army Reserve captain on active duty in Iraq, Mr. Mahaffee died May 15th, at age 36, from shrapnel injuries to his shoulder, chest and lungs that he suffered on May 5, when a roadside bomb exploded under the vehicle in which he was riding.

    Mahaffee was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1995 and had a general practice in Waukegan. He was married and the father of 2 when he was killed in Iraq, having been there only three weeks.

    November 20, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. southerner

    Send Joe instead, but give him a 4 year deployment!

    November 20, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    BRING THE TROOPS HOME! NOW!

    November 20, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. Obama is the man

    Knowing him, he is already training his daughters so that they can serve in the military.

    November 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. The New Civil War has begun (Sons of the Founders vs. The Socialists)

    I have zero respect for Joe Biden, but I do wish Beau Biden and his fellow unit members the best of luck on their time in theater... and hope they all come back quickly and safely to their families. Hooah.

    November 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Obama is the man

    Michelle Obama so admires the U.S. military, she will be a great First Lady who truly loves her country.

    November 20, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. SOPHIA

    As a veterans of the untied states army, some of the comments I read makes me wonder how many american are willing to give their lives for their country. Some of you with the sarcastic comments...you know who you are...Republican, democrats, indepent...it doesn't matter. No wonder why people around the world hate americans. We are always aruging with each other about petty crap.

    Beau I pray that you will return home safely and I see from your Job in IRAQ a few of my friends will be serving under you, I know they will be proud no matter who's son you are. Take care of yourself and your fellow comrads. If your relationship with people is anything like what I see in your father and Barack, I know men and women alike will be happy to have you in command. God speed Beau and I know why you do what you do. One very proud american to another.

    November 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. Steve in CT

    I remember needing to beat the crap out of loud mouthed cowards when we came home during Vietnam when they spat at us, threw stuff and called us "Baby killers". It's comforting to read their kids get it no matter what they think of the war. It's also good to see people aren't listening to the puke coming out of Hanoi Jane Fonda who so many fought and died for to protect her right to get so many of our young people killed. Respect those who serve equally regardless of there name being Biden, Palin, or anything else. They're all heros no matter who their parents are. God protect them one and all.

    November 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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