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While the soldiers of the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment received plenty of encouraging words during their farewell ceremony Friday in Vilseck, Germany, they also got a dose of reality from one of the top generals in Europe.

“I’ll venture to say you’ll face a fight as soon as you hit the ground,” V Corps commander Lt. Gen. James E. Thurman, told the soldiers who are heading to Iraq for a 15-month tour.

It’s the second deployment for the 2nd Cav, but its first since moving to Vilseck in June 2006. The unit has been gearing up for the downrange mission for months, culminating with a mission-rehearsal exercise in June before the soldiers took a month of block leave in July.

The soldiers are ready to go, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Martinez, who was with the unit during its last deployment to Iraq.

“It’s tough leaving, but I’m excited to get over there and serve the people of Iraq,” Martinez said in an Army news release. “I get guys who tell me ‘here we go again sergeant major, let’s do this,’ and it warms my heart.”

Col. John RisCassi, 2nd Cav commander, addressed his soldiers and the crowd after the colors-casing ceremony.

“It is our honor and privilege to carry these colors into battle,” RisCassi said in the release. “We will not let down the members of the regiment, past and present, nor our friends and family in Vilseck.”

And despite Thurman’s strong words, he said he had confidence in the troops as well.

“While many challenges lie ahead, none are insurmountable because of your outstanding training, excellent leadership and dedication and devotion to duty,” he said in the release.

The 2nd Cav learned in May that it was one of 10 brigades set to deploy to Iraq between August and December. One of the other units on the list — 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade — learned last week that its deployment would be delayed until early 2008.

The Army has not said where the 2nd Cav will serve in Iraq.

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