Sen. Dan Newberry on Wednesday will attend a farewell ceremony for 3,200 Oklahoma National Guard troops as they depart for Afghanistan. National Guard officials expect more than 16,000 to attend the 11:30 a.m. ceremony at the Oklahoma City Arena and Cox Convention Center.
The deployment of the 45th Infantry Brigade will be the largest ever for the Oklahoma National Guard.
“I am humbled by the willingness of these men and women to bravely represent their country and risk their lives in defense of our shared values,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “They are a reminder of what we stand for, and of the great cost required for securing liberty. It will be an honor and a privilege to meet some of these soldiers as they prepare for deployment.”
Also scheduled to attend the ceremony are Gov. Mary Fallin, adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Myles Deering and Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, director of the U.S. Air National Guard Bureau. Doors will open at the arena and convention center at 9:30 a.m.
Guard officials said troops will participate in a full spectrum of duties in Afghanistan, including combat operations.
“The men and women of the 45th infantry are a great credit to their state and country, and I know the quality of their character will serve them well in moments of peril,” Newberry said. “They will remain in our thoughts and prayers through the duration of their deployment.”