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Family and friends bid an anxious and tearful farewell as the time draws near for the departure of the 11th Marine Expedition Unit from the San Diego Naval Station aboard the ships of the 3rd Expeditionary Strike Group on a schecduled seven month deployment to Iraq. The 11th MEU - comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines - will arrive in Iraq in mid-July to replace elements of the 1st Armored Division which has been in Iraq for nearly a year-and-a-half.