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Deployment nears for Navy team

A group of Navy reservists will depart from Spokane on Friday for seven to eight months of anti-terrorism duty in the Middle East.

The 23 sailors are members of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 9, which draws from several states and trains at the Navy Operational Support Center at 5101 N. Assembly St.

Lt. Cmdr. Kim Pizanti, the center’s commanding officer, said the detachment will train in San Diego for a couple of months before being posted to Kuwait.

The group, which specializes in protecting high-value targets from terrorists, is expected to return next February.

The unit will provide security in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East as needed, Pizanti said.

One of the reservists, electrician’s mate Scott Butcher of Pullman, will be “frocked” in a brief ceremony at 8:30 a.m. That means he’ll be allowed to wear his new insignia before his promotion from chief to senior chief is official.

The Patriot Guard Riders will be on hand when the sailors report for duty at 8 a.m.

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