Showing posts with label Oklahoma National Guard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oklahoma National Guard. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma National Guard Uses New Combat Gear, Tactics From Afghanistan

National Guard Uses New Combat Gear, Tactics in Moore, Okla.
'It's still chaos,' said one soldier who patrolled with Air Force, Army veterans
US News
May 21, 2013

Oklahoma National Guardsmen, many of them combat veterans, were among the first responders to the tornado that tore through Moore, Okla. Monday afternoon.

Roughly 80 soldiers and airmen from nearby bases rushed to the disaster zone early Monday evening, a spokesman says. They brought with them advanced tactical equipment, experience from the war in Afghanistan and an overarching desire to help friends and neighbors.

"It's still chaos," says Maj. Geoff Legler, a spokesman for the Oklahoma National Guard who arrived with the initial quick reaction force Monday night. He first saw victims of the EF4-rated tornado escaping on foot via major avenues, clutching photo albums and pictures, and anything else that would fit into suitcases.

Hundreds of firemen, search and rescue workers and police responded to schools and neighborhoods affected by more than 200 mph winds. Legler flew over the disaster site Tuesday morning and says every intersection was occupied by first responders or members of the National Guard. Roughly 75 percent of the guardsmen based in Norman, just south of Moore, came out last night to work with airmen from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron stationed out of Will Rogers Air National Guard Base near Oklahoma City.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oklahoma veteran speaks out about PTSD and veteran suicide rate

Oklahoma veteran speaks out about PTSD and veteran suicide rate
Posted: Jan 21, 2013
By Jalah Gray

CARTWRIGHT, OK - They risk their lives serving our country, and now they're dying in record numbers, and not in combat.

The Pentagon says in 2012 there were nearly 350 military suicides.

A number that far exceeds American deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Experts say the burden of more than a decade of combat and a military facing budget cuts could be to blame.

We sat down with a local veteran who was willing to talk to us about the shocking trend, and the problems he's been facing.

"It's the X factor, which you really can't worry about a lot of times."

Veteran Colt Floyd is trying to describe his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2007 after his first tour with the Oklahoma National Guard.

"Combat it definitely changes you a lot, in whatever capacity you serve in. It's being away from the comforts of home, and having to buckle down and it's serious business, and in my opinion as an infantryman, it's life or death," said Floyd.

And death is something that hit way too close to home for Floyd, on his last tour in Afghanistan, when one of his close friends was killed.

"You know he was one of mine, one of my younger team leaders and my platoon in general we never got over it, it's something that's always going to be in your mind, he was one of our best buds, a good soldier."
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last Vietnam veteran serving in Oklahoma National Guard retiring

Last Vietnam veteran serving in Oklahoma National Guard retiring
By Staff Reports
Published: 9/12/2012

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The last Vietnam veteran serving in the Oklahoma National Guard is retiring this month.

After 38 years of service, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ronald G. Petty will retire from his position as equal employment manager for the Oklahoma National Guard.

Petty, of Harrah, served for 16 months in Vietnam beginning in 1969 as a Army flight controller and as a member of an 18-member unit working alongside their Vietnamese counterparts.
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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Unemployment, mental health remain concerns for Oklahoma Guardsmen

Unemployment, mental health remain concerns for Oklahoma Guardsmen who have returned from deployments
Officials said about 22 percent of the 3,000 Oklahoma National Guardsmen who returned from a deployment to Afghanistan this spring remain unemployed.
Published: September 2, 2012

Unemployment and mental health issues continue to concern military officials months after about 3,000 Oklahoma National Guard soldiers returned from deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

About 30 percent of the soldiers who returned from the deployment in March and April were unemployed when they got home. That number is now down to 22 percent, said Warren Griffis, director of the Guard's employment coordination program.

“It's high, but some of the numbers are people who may not have reported to us they got a job,” Griffis said. “Getting the accurate data has been a little tough. We also have full-time students. That's about 10 percent. Those are in the unemployment number.”
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family needs help getting body of Michael David Copeland out of Iraq


Iraq releases body of US contractor after dispute
June 27, 2012
CBS News

BAGHDAD — The body of an American contractor who was found dead in Baghdad was flown back to the U.S. on Tuesday after a two-week bureaucratic debate over whether the Iraqi government would perform an autopsy on his remains.

Officials said Michael David Copeland, 37, is among a handful of Americans working for the U.S. government to die in Iraq since December. That's when a security agreement between the two nations expired, eliminating immunities that shielded the U.S. military from local laws.

Copeland's case is a snapshot of the new reality of working in Iraq for Americans who, over the years, were accustomed to vast privileges and influence that disappeared when the U.S. troops left.

Officials said Copeland, of Colbert, Okla., moved to Iraq within the last month to take a job on an aviation project with DynCorp International under a State Department contract. His body was found in his bed on June 9, family members said. No foul play was suspected.
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Michael David Copeland served this nation as Marine and then in the National Guards. Had he been killed wearing either uniform, the government would make sure his body came home soon afterwards, but he died working for a defense contractor in Iraq instead. His family needs help getting his body home.

Family of Oklahoma contractor who died in Iraq seeks help getting his body returned
Tulsa World, Okla
Published: June 20, 2012

Family members of a civilian contractor who died in Iraq this month are asking for government officials to put pressure on the Iraqi government to release the body to them.

Michael David Copeland - from Colbert in southern Oklahoma, who served in the Marines and with the Oklahoma Air National Guard - was found dead June 9 in his living quarters in Baghdad. His cause of death has not been released, said Ashley Burke, the vice president of communication for DynCorp International, the company at which Copeland worked.

Michael Wayne Copeland, his father, said his family has spoken with officials from the U.S. State Department and the congressional delegation, but he hasn't seen results.

"Everyone is sorry for our loss and his concern; however, his remains are still in Baghdad," his father said. "All we're interested in is knowing what happened to him and getting him home to lay him to rest."

Copeland's father said he was contacted June 9 by DynCorp officials and notified of his son's death. He said his son had been in Iraq working as an airplane mechanic about a week before his death.

Copeland, 37, served two tours of duty with the Marines before he left and joined the Oklahoma Air National Guard, where he served on another tour. His total military career spanned 13 years, his father said.
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Six year old son of Oklahoma National Guard Soldier run over at airport

Soldier's son, 6, leaves hospital a week after being run over at airport
By Andy Greder
Updated: 12/23/2011 09:56:39 PM CST

Zachary Drew was released from a St. Paul hospital Friday, a week after the 6-year-old Coon Rapids boy was hit by a vehicle as he walked to an airport homecoming with his soldier father.

Zachary had "successful treatment" for a broken leg and facial injuries and "will continue his recovery at home," Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare said in a statement.

Last Friday, Zachary was walking hand in hand with his mother and three younger siblings as they crossed a parking lot at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Richard Drew, a member of the Oklahoma National Guard, awaited his family in the terminal.

But before the family was reunited, a driver hit Zachary and dragged him 15 feet before crashing into a concrete wall.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Grandmother in Afghanistan helps heal troops

Grandmother in Afghanistan helps heal troops
Diane Hughes is a nurse practitioner stationed at Combat Outpost Xio Haq in the Laghman province in Afghanistan. Hughes is the oldest soldier on the outpost and has become an unofficial mother for some Oklahoma soldiers. MIKE BOETTCHER/ University of Oklahoma
By MIKE BOETTCHER University of Oklahoma
Published: 12/3/2011
Last Modified: 12/3/2011
"We look at the whole person, and in this case the whole soldier, and these are young men and women who are seeing a lot of horrors," she said. "They're seeing their friends hurt, and sometimes just a listening ear is what they need."

COMBAT OUTPOST XIO HAQ, Afghanistan - A sign hanging on the door of the plywood B-Hut reads "The doctor is in." Inside, stretchers are positioned to receive the wounded, but thankfully for Maj. Diane Hughes, they are empty today.

Hughes is a nurse practitioner stationed at Combat Outpost Xio Haq in Afghanistan's Laghman province, the base of operations for the 45th Infantry Brigade's Special Troops Battalion.

At 54, she is the oldest soldier on the outpost, a grandmother of six and the unofficial mother to a lot of Oklahoma soldiers.

"I could be some of these soldiers' mother, and sometimes that's what they need - either a listening word of guidance or sometimes a boxing on the ears," she said jokingly.
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deployment takes a toll on an Oklahoma mother serving in Army

Oklahoma Army mom sacrifices for daughters
Deployment takes a toll on an Oklahoma mother serving in Army.

Published: December 4, 2011
It's a day Jj Murphy never will be able to erase out of her memory.

“Those of you with family members here, you have five minutes to say goodbye.”

She recalls falling out of formation from her company, turning around and seeing her husband, Chad, and looking into his eyes as he held their two little girls. She had five short minutes left with her family before boarding the plane to Iraq.

“Shoshoni just started screaming and latched onto me and she wouldn't let go. Everybody in my company turned around and watched. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. Everybody started crying and Chad had to grab Shoshoni. I remember walking away, listening to her say, ‘Don't leave.' I was just looking into her eyes and giving them a kiss and a hug and I said ‘I love you and I'll talk to you soon.' I had to walk away and I remember telling myself, ‘Don't look back.' I couldn't look back and I couldn't see them crying and screaming.”
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving on the Front Lines: No Break for Troops in Afghanistan

Thanksgiving on the Front Lines: No Break for Troops in Afghanistan

By MIKE BOETTCHER -- Zormat, Afghanistan
Nov. 24, 2011
It's business as usual for the Oklahoma National Guard in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. soldiers and their Afghan police partners show off a Taliban machine gun they captured during a patrol today. They also uncovered a cache of Taliban weapons, all before the Thanksgiving meal.

"We found some IED [Improvised Explosive Device] making materials. Some HME [homemade explosives], and a couple of mortar rounds. It was a good find," one National Guardsman told ABC News.

Americans across the world are celebrating Thanksgiving today, but there is no break for troops on the front lines.

Oklahoma's 45th Brigade has faced a particularly tough fight in east-central Afghanistan. Since it fully deployed last July, 14 of its team have been killed in action. That included the first woman from Oklahoma to die on the battlefied, Pfc. Sarina Butcher, a 19-year-old mother.The previous brigade from Iowa saw four of its soldiers killed in action while it was deployed there.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Family, Friends Remember Two Oklahoma Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Family, Friends Remember Two Oklahoma Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The Department of Defense has confirmed that two more Oklahoma soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.

One soldier is identified as Specialist Chris Gailey, 26, from Ochelata, the other as Private First Class Sarina Butcher, 19, of Checotah. They were assigned to the 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Tulsa.

They died November 1, 2011, when their vehicle was hit by an IED in the Paktia province.
The Guard says the improvised explosive device detonated near their military vehicle while their unit was on a resupply mission.

Two soldiers were also wounded during the incident but are expected to recover from their injuries.

"The Oklahoma National Guard family is deeply saddened by the loss of these two outstanding Citizen-Soldiers," said Major General Myles L. Deering, the adjutant general for Oklahoma.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oklahoma soldiers deal with danger fighting Taliban

Oklahoma soldiers deal with danger fighting Taliban
About 2,000 members of the Oklahoma National Guard are deployed to Afghanistan.

Published: August 28, 2011
Oklahoma National Guard soldiers are “outside the wire” in Afghanistan, fighting up close and personal with the Taliban and waiting for the day they can come home.

The 2,000 soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have lost seven of their comrades in the short time they've been deployed, a fact that is always on the minds of those left behind.

Rely on each other
Spc. Anthony Fernandez, of Edmond, a scout who does reconnaissance and gathers intelligence for his unit, said soldiers must rely on each other with danger a constant reality.

“Everyone has each other's back,” he said. “We become like a family, and we look out for each other and trust one another. I pray a lot and know that God is watching over me.”
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Funeral service set for soldier of Oklahoma National Guard

Funeral service set for soldier
By Michael Pineda, Staff Writer
The Ardmoreite
Posted Aug 23, 2011

Kingston —
Family and friends of 2nd Lt. Joe Cunningham are still trying to come to grips with his death, which occurred on Aug. 13 at the Laghman province of Afghanistan.

A Department of Defense press release said Cunningham died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident while assigned to the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oklahoma National Guard soldier dies in Afghanistan

Oklahoma soldier dies in Afghanistan
Second Lt. Joe L. Cunningham, 27, died Saturday from injuries suffered in a noncombat-related incident in Afghanistan, authorities said. He is the sixth Oklahoma soldier to die in Afghanistan since July 29.

Published: August 15, 2011
An Army National Guard soldier from Kingston died Saturday in Afghanistan, authorities said.

According to the Department of Defense, 2nd Lt. Joe L. Cunningham, 27, died from injuries suffered in a noncombat incident in the Laghman province.

Cunningham was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oklahoma Army National Guard based in Stillwater.

He previously deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2006.

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