Project Seeks To Bring National Guard Troops Home For Christmas

Friday, November 9th 2007, 12:48 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Governor Brad Henry has announced a project to give 2,600 Oklahoma National Guard troops a free trip home for the Christmas holiday before they deploy to Iraq.

"Operation Holiday Homecoming" seeks to raise $600,000 to enable Oklahoma soldiers to be home from December 23 to January 2.

The members of the 45th Infantry Brigade are now training at Ft. Bliss Army Base at El Paso and are expected to be sent to Iraq in January after their 10-day holiday leave.

The funds to be raised will go toward covering the cost of buses to be used to transport the soldiers to Oklahoma and to provide meals.

The Cherokee Nation has contributed $25,000 to the cause, the Choctaw Nation is supplying 14 of buses and the Chickasaw Nation is supplying two buses.

Major General Harry Wyatt, Oklahoma adjutant general, estimates that 60 buses will be needed. Henry says the project will lift the morale of troops, showing how Oklahomans appreciate their service.

The American Legion of Oklahoma is sponsoring the fundraising effort. Donations can be made to any BancFirst branch. BancFirst has 100 locations in 47 cities and towns across the state.