Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry announced today an in initiative to bring National Guard troops back to the state for the Christmas holidays.
Called "Operation Holiday Homecoming," Henry joined military and veterans affairs leaders to make the announcement and encourage Oklahomans to donate to the American Legion of Oklahoma fund. The funds would enable 45th Infantry Brigade members to travel to Oklahoma between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.
The initiative needs to collect $600,000 to cover the cost of transporting 2,300 soliders on 60 buses from Fort Bliss, Texas (located near El Paso). The brigade is scheduled to deploy to Iraq in January.
"Oklahomans believe the importance of family, and, as our soldiers prepare to deploy overseas, it is more important than ever that they are home for Christmas," Henry said in a statement. "For all they do for our state and our nation, giving them a special holiday season is the least we can do in return." - Gazette staff