Congressman in Ardmore Tuesday

By: Paige Tebow Email
By: Paige Tebow Email

ARDMORE -- A day after the military announced a record number of Oklahoma National Guard troops will be deployed overseas, top officials question whether they'll be properly equipped.

The question is not whether Oklahoma troops will be prepared. National Guard officials say they'll have their men and women well-trained.

But throughout all branches of the military, there seems to be a shortage of equipment and materials, but today a local congressman tells us help is on the way.

We've seen dozens of local heroes leave their homes and loved ones for war torn Iraq and Afghanistan.

They've served our country well, but their job is not over.

Earlier this year, we reported the largest number of Oklahoma Guard troops will be heading overseas since the Korean War.

The U.S. Military made it official on Monday.

By Christmas, forty percent of the state's guard could be in Iraq, including members of Ada's 180th Infantry currently serving in Afghanistan.

The war in Iraq was front and center at Congressman Tom Cole's town hall meeting in Ardmore today.

While democratic lawmakers push for troop withdrawal, here at home the Oklahoma Guard's top military official questions whether his troops will receive the proper equipment and get trained on that equipment before duty calls.

"Once the unit gets the alert order, that begins the flow of the money, resources and equipment. We don't have the requisite number of import carbines at this time, night vision goggles and we have some other shortages in equipment ---- a lot of it has been cross leveled."

Wyatt says the alert Monday moves the guard up on the military’s supply distribution list, but Congressman Cole says the source of the equipment shortage goes back to the mid 1990's during times of peace.

"Ever since I've been in Congress, I’ve argued for a large defense budget that's starting to increase but frankly that never happens fast enough."

Oklahoma Guard troops will get double the amount of training in the field this summer before they're deployed in December.

Officials say their men and women will be prepared or they won't go.

Oklahoma national guard officials say as many as 3,500 troops from all corners of the state could be on their way to Iraq.

No word yet on how many hometown heroes, including members of the 180th Infantry in Ada., will be among the pack.


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