On Thursday, the Oklahoma National Guard 45th Infantry Brigade received word from Washington that more than 3,500 of their troops could be headed to Iraq, making this the largest deployment for the Guard since the Korean War.
If the orders go through, the entire 45th could be headed to Iraq as early as January 2008. There are already about 700 Oklahoma National Guard troops serving overseas. This announcement means that soldiers from the 1-180th in Durant, C-Company in Ada, and 160th Field Artillery in Pauls Valley could be on their way to the Middle East.
Military officials say the soldiers will most likely be on active duty for a year. It will be their job to conduct combat patrols and work security. National Guard troops in three other states are receiving similar orders.
Officials say since 9/11 they have only lost one Oklahoma Guard soldier in combat. Nineteen soldiers have received a Purple Heart.
Commanders will fill in local troops about the mission this weekend when they meet for training. The deployment has not been solidified, but military officials say it could happen as early as next January but most likely the summer of 2008.