Saturday, February 18, 2012
BY KEVIN CANFIELD, World Staff Writer
NORMAN - About 30 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were welcomed home from Afghanistan on Friday by family, friends and the state's top elected official.
"We know your dedication and sacrifice keeps our state and our nation free," said Gov. Mary Fallin. "I want each and every one of you to know that the entire state of Oklahoma holds a profound respect and admiration for your service."
The soldiers arrived at the Norman Armed Forces Reserve Center mid-morning Friday. They are the second group of soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to demobilize after their deployment to Afghanistan and Kuwait.
About 40 members of the 45th combat team returned to Norman a week ago, the first of the approximately 3,000 soldiers to return to the state as part of the official demobilization.
Nearly 2,200 of those soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan, and about 800 were deployed to Kuwait for nine months.
Most of the soldiers should be back in Oklahoma by mid-March.
On Friday, Fallin promised the returning soldiers that they would have the state's support as they transition to civilian life.
"We're ready to offer whatever assistance you may need, such as help finding a job," she said.
Since July, 14 soldiers from the 45th have been killed in Afghanistan.