More Oklahoma Guard troops to be deployed to Iraq

Sometime next week, the Pentagon will announce that 13,000 more Guard troops will deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan next year (7 of 8 units going to Iraq).

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is preparing to alert eight National Guard units that they should be ready to go to Iraq or Afghanistan beginning late next summer, The Associated Press learned Wednesday.

The U.S. military is reaching out to more Guard units in an effort to maintain needed troop levels, ease some of the strain on the active duty Army and provide security for ports, convoys and other installations.

The article provides some context:

There are now 171,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, largely because several units are overlapping as some move in and others move out of the country. Once those transitions are complete and the drawdown begins, the level of troops in Iraq could drop to as low as 135,000.

All together, the Guard announcement would involve about 13,000 soldiers.

Here’s the kicker:

Specific brigades were not identified, but they will include units from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Illinois and Hawaii, according to officials. Some of those being alerted this week have done tours in the war zone already, and others would be going for the first time.

Emphasis added.

This is especially heart wrenching because tomorrow, 2,400 soldiers of Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry Brigade will be feted at a gala ceremony at the Lloyd Noble Center as they leave for Ft. Bliss in preparation for going to Iraq. This is the OK National Guard’s “largest deployment since the Korean War.”

This recent development will keep the phones at the Oklahoma GI Rights Hotline busy well into next year, no doubt.

Volunteers are needed for the next training, so if you can help, please call (405)231-1138.