NewsOn6.com

OKLAHOMA CITY- The 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team received a "notification of sourcing" from National Guard Bureau in Washington that it should begin preparing for a possible deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

The notification does not necessarily mean the Brigade will deploy, but is a strong indicator that it may be called upon.  A final decision on whether the unit will actually deploy won't be known until the unit receives an actual "alert" message.  Guard officials here believe that message may come down sometime this spring or summer.

Major General Myles Deering, the Adjutant General for Oklahoma, expressed his confidence in the 45th, saying "The Brigade's soldiers are highly trained, competent professionals and many of them know first-hand what it's like to serve in a war zone. I have complete and total confidence in the men and women serving in the 45th IBCT." 

The Brigade pulled security force duty in Iraq for a year beginning in 2007.  Deering was the Brigade Commander at that time.  The unit is now made up of nearly 3,500 soldiers, and has battalion headquarters in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Tulsa, Durant and Chandler.  The Brigade Headquarters is located in Oklahoma City.

Nearly 10,000 Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.  If the Brigade is mobilized in 2011, it will be the largest deployment of Oklahoma National Guard troops since the Korean War.  The Brigade deployed with 2,600 troops in 2007.

 Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry responded to the news Wednesday Afternoon, "This is obviously difficult news for families to hear over the holidays, but the time frame thankfully gives families and individuals time to prepare for the challenges ahead. When called upon by their country, the men and women of the Oklahoma National Guard have responded with decisiveness, courage and steadfast commitment. All Oklahomans owe our troops a debt of gratitude, and they will be in our thoughts and prayers over the many months ahead."