Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers Train For Afghanistan

Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 12:58 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

CAMP GRUBER, Oklahoma -- Thousands of Oklahoma soldiers on the homefront are getting ready for war. The men and women are training across the country for a summer deployment to Afghanistan.

"It's very realistic. You get the adrenaline rush, you're heavy gear doesn't feel heavy anymore and you click into the mindset that this may be happening to you in the next year and you take it seriously," Spc. Lindsay Williams said.

The men and women from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan: 3,200 soldiers are training at installations across the country.

"I'm expecting to go over there, do the job, and come home with everybody," Sgt. 1 Class Randy Marshall said.

Training exercises are crucial to what they can expect. The military is even using natives of Afghanistan to help them train.

"I was actually surprised when I got here and found that out, that's awesome," Sgt 1 Class Randy Marshall said.

For many of the soldiers it's not the first time they've been deployed. Specialist Daniel Foran, from Miami, is married and has two young children.

"I learned from my first deployment you've got to leave all your family stuff behind and you got to focus on your mission so you come back home," Spc. Daniel Foran said.

Specialist Lindsay Williams, however, is going on her first deployment. She's one of 200 women heading overseas.

"It's going to be a culture shock, I definitely think so, but they've given us plenty of briefings explaining the cultural awareness. I think we'll be alright," she said.

All of them are proud to serve and, nerves aside, they say they're ready to fulfill their mission.

"Excited, I'm scared, I'm concerned, I'm nervous, I'm happy, all of it," Spc. Williams said. "I'm ready, I think it'll be a good time."

The more than 3,200 members of the Oklahoma National Guard will mobilize later this spring for Louisiana for some more training. This summer they'll head to Afghanistan, they'll be there for nine months.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, along with a number of state lawmakers, visited Camp Gruber Thursday to see the soldiers going through their scheduled training regimen. 

3/1/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma's Governor In Muskogee And Tulsa On Thursday And Friday