It's homecoming day for the second and final wave of soldiers returning with the 179th Infantry of the Oklahoma National Guard who had been helping security forces in the Ukraine for the past several months.
Nearly 250 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were deployed to Ukraine as part the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U), where they provided training support for Ukrainian Forces. It's part of a larger effort to train the Ukrainian army and make it NATO interoperable by 2020. Ukrainian leaders believe the training will help them regain control of the eastern part of their country, under siege from Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
The 45th IBCT was the first of two six-month rotations to Ukraine.
"That's just how Oklahomans are," said Lt. Col. Scott Holt, deputy commander of the 45th IBCT. "They want to help people and they want to do the best they can to assist other folks.”
The homecoming event for the Oklahoma National Guard members will take place at 1 p.m. at the Norman Armed Forces Reserve Center.