Oklahoma Guardsmen Pay Dearly To Secure Afghan Border

Wednesday, August 17th 2011, 11:11 pm
By: News 9

Havonnah Johnson, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The 45th Infantry Division is charged with the task of protecting eastern Afghanistan.  Their previous mission was to hold Afghan detainees.  The mission now is security detail.  Major General Myles Deering said its an important mission but the protection of the border comes at a cost.

Dealing with the news of casualties proves taxing to military family members serving here at home. 

"I just avoided the news for a long time. I couldn't listen to it because if I did I would worry.  As long as I heard from him I knew everything was OK," said Jennifer Orn, a soldier's wife.

After such tragic losses Major General Myles Deering ditched the usual orders and showed up personally to greet soldiers with a thank you Wednesday. He explained the 45th Brigade Combat Division is in a danger zone.

"I am in regular contact with the leaders there and, unfortunately, these kind of things happen but they are doing great.  I've talked to them and I am in regular conversations with the leadership over there but they are keeping their heads up," Deering said.

Before July 29th, the Oklahoma National Guard had lost only five members, since Sept. 11. The total number of casualties for the guard is now 12. 

Nearly 3,000 National Guardsmen are still serving overseas.