Stillwater News Press

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March 3, 2012

Largest group of 45th Infantry soldiers yet returns home Saturday

Entire unit should return home within next month

STILLWATER, Okla. — Approximately 130 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will return Saturday from Afghanistan and Kuwait, including at least 20 soldiers from a Stillwater-based unit, the Oklahoma National Guard announced.

This is the fifth and largest group of soldiers from the 45th infantry to return home, said Lt. Col. Max Moss, Oklahoma National Guard spokesman. U.S. Representative James Lankford, R-Okla., and Maj. Gen. Myles Deering will welcome the soldiers home at a 10 a.m. Saturday ceremony at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.

The 20 soldiers based in Stillwater represent the 1st Battalion 179th Infantry.

But 2,200 of the 45th Infantry’s 3,000 soldiers remain deployed overseas — with at least 95 percent originally hailing from Oklahoma, Moss said. Fortunately, he said, another welcoming ceremony will be held next weeks and continue until every soldier is home by the end of March or early April.

Upon arriving home, soldiers can elect to take military leave to spend time with loved ones or immediately return to the civilian workforce, Moss said. For those soldiers who do not have jobs waiting upon their return — at least 40 percent of the returning soldiers, he said — the guard provides assistance for employment placement.

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