Hundreds Of Oklahoma Soldiers Prepare For Deployment To Middle East

Wednesday, May 26th 2010, 5:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6  

MUSKOGEE COUNTY -- Hundreds of Oklahoma soldiers are training in eastern Oklahoma on the home front.

The men and women of the 45th Infantry Brigade are preparing for another deployment to the Middle East. On Wednesday, their combat training took them to Camp Gruber near Muskogee. 

They make their job look simple, but it's actually very dangerous.

"We use explosives to breach our obstacles," said Spc. Daniel Dominguez, who is a Tulsa native.

The 45th Infantry Brigade has 3,400 members. The Special Troops Battalion is part of the 45th Infantry Brigade and has 549 troops. Most of them are Oklahomans.

Specialist Cecil Foley is from Sapulpa.

"Oh I love it, it's the most fun I've ever had," said Spc. Cecil Foley, who is a Sapulpa native.

Troops with the Special Troops Battalion are training for next year's deployment to Afghanistan. For many, it's not the first time they'll see action in a war zone.

"I won't be as nervous as the first time I went on my deployment because I didn't know what was going to happen or what it was going to be like. But now I have an idea of what it's going to be like and I'm looking forward to it," said Cecil.

Once the men and women get into Afghanistan, they'll be doing a little bit of everything from demolition to engineering, to infantry to intelligence. Each one says they're proud to serve in the 45th.

"Nowhere have I been that I haven't been called out because somebody saw the patch and wanted to say hello," said Lt. Col. Mike Kinnison, Commander Special Troops.

Kinnison is commander of the Special Troops Battalion. He says the soldiers in his unit are some of the best the country has to offer.

"Great Oklahomans, great men. I love working with them and I love leading them," said Kinnison.

The soldiers agree and call it an honor to work in a brigade with the storied history of the 45th. 

"Makes me have a feel of accomplishment, doing something big, being a part of something big," said Dominguez.

For the next year, it will be more training for the men and women. Then they'll deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2011. Once they leave, they'll be gone for a year.