Oklahoma Soldiers Play Role In Iraq Withdrawal

Saturday, October 22nd 2011, 9:47 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Associated Press Reports

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Some of Oklahoma's finest will be returning to the home font as the mission in Iraq draws to an end.

Members of the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing will provide air cover for U.S. forces as they move more than 40,000 personnel and equipment out of Iraq.

The 138th Fighter Wing just arrived in Iraq on October 1, 2011 to an abandoned building. They were tasked with turning it into a fully-functioning command center, which they did in just nine days.

President Barack Obama's announcement Friday that the nearly nine-year war in Iraq would end with the last American forces withdrawing by year's end likely won't change the current deployments of the Oklahoma National Guard in the region, officials said.

10/21/2011 Related Story: Iraq war over, US troops coming home, Obama says

The Tulsa World reported Saturday that about 3,200 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan and those deployments will likely remain on track.

A National Guard spokesman says troops from the 45th are scheduled to begin redeployments in February and March.

Oklahoma National Guard soldiers have previously served in Iraq, but the guard says the 138th's deployment appears to be the last full unit from the state that will serve in Iraq.