1,700 Arkansas National Guard Members Serving Overseas During Holidays

More than 1,700 Arkansas National Guard soldiers and airmen are overseas this holiday season, leaving seats empty at family dinner tables around the state.

Another 200 guard members currently are stationed in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to patrol the nation's border with Mexico.

Captain Shawn Keeper, of Mayflower, and the five men in his command marked their last days in Arkansas with lunch together with their families at a North Little Rock restaurant.

The group leaves this Saturday and will be joining their fellow Arkansans in Iraq after a stay at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)