London, Sept.4 : Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's son, Track, will be heading for the Middle East next week to prepare for military service in one of the most dangerous corners of Iraq.
A year after enlisting in the US Army on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, Private First Class Palin will fly to Kuwait next Thursday for acclimatisation, and will be deployed a few weeks later to an area of Diyala province teeming with al-Qaeda insurgents.
It will not be an easy tour for the 19-year old, who is assigned to 1-1 Bravo Company, 52nd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, reports The Times.
Diyala remains a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency. American military intelligence estimates there are still around 150 hardcore al-Qaeda fighters in the province, backed up by between 200 and 400 armed bandits who will fight for whoever pays them most.
Diyala is also littered with improvised explosive devices (IED's) - there were 82 bomb blasts in a particularly kinetic two and a half month period.
The fact that Track Palin's mother is a potential vice-president could mean that he could be teased a lot, say soldiers already posted in Diyala.
"Will it be hard? Yes. If it was me and my parent was a vice-presidential candidate or the vice-president, it would be hard. It gives you a celebrity status," the paper quoted Captain Stephen Thibodeau, 30, as saying.
Thibodeau is on his second tour in Iraq, with the 2nd Stryker Cavlary Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany.
Private Palin will be one of about 4,600 US troops serving in Diyala and will be protected by some of the best armour money can by.
He could also possibly meet up with Beau Biden, 39, currently serving as a Captain in the Delaware National Guard and will be in Iraq at the same time. His father is Democratic vice-president candidate Joe Biden.