State lawmaker resigns after getting Afghanistan orders

Wednesday, November 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Rep. Hopper Smith, an Army National Guard lieutenant colonel bound for Afghanistan, resigned his legislative post on Wednesday as expected.

Smith's resignation letter was submitted to the governor, House speaker and secretary of state.

He had previously announced he would resign if he was sent with the Oklahoma Army National Guard to Afghanistan.

The Tulsa Republican commands one of three battalions in Oklahoma that are sending about 400 troops to Afghanistan as part of a five-state force.

He said he will command a joint U.S.-Canadian unit at Camp Phoenix near Kabul.

"Our mission is to train the leadership of the Afghan army so that it becomes a viable army and can provide security for the new Afghanistan," Smith said in a news release.

In his letter, Smith wrote from Fort Carson, Colo., that he had been honored to serve from House District 67 and "it is now my privilege to serve my state and country in a different manner.

"I ask that everyone continue to pray for my family, my soldiers and their families and please pray for the women, men and children of Afghanistan. They have a tough lot in life."

Smith, 43, is in the middle of his fourth two-year term.