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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 14) - A contingent of 44 Tongan soldiers is due to leave for Iraq Tuesday to serve alongside the First US Marine Division.

At a farewell parade for the contingent in Nukualofa at the weelend, Tonga's Prime Minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, said Tonga remembered when the United States came to defend Tonga and the region from the Japanese during World War Two.

A Tonga defence service spokesman says morale among the soldiers is high, and they are looking forward to the six-month deployment.

June 15, 2004

Radio Australia:

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