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45th Infantry News & Events

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Operation Pioneer Spirit

Ponca City, Oklahoma

Community-wide support for our US troops

Grand Total of boxes sent since August 9, 2006:


A special "God Bless You" and "Thank You" to those who have helped with the packing of the boxes and filling out the customs forms. If you want to have the time of your life and do something that is both fulfilling and very much needed, then come help us when Operation Pioneer Spirit packs the boxes at the YMCA of Ponca City, 1604 W. Grand Ave. Mark your calendars for the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m. or watch for special mailings on this web site, or in the Ponca City News.

Just a few of the many volunteers who help with Operation Pioneer Spirit.

With the help of many volunteers, over 14,022 boxes of supplies have been sent to the soldiers stationed overseas!

Our Troops need you. How can you help?

You can help by praying for our soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. Letters and cards of encouragement are also very important. Finally, a list of items is given below of the things our female soldiers (and male) need. Members from Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Garden Club, First Christian Church, First Baptist Church, and other area supporters pack the donated items up and mail them to the soldiers at least once a month.

Take Letters, Cards, Items or Money to:

Chiropratic Associates

300 N. 5th St.

Ponca City, OK 74601



9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


8:30-12:00 Noon

Phone Number: 580-762-1291


Take supplies to:

YMCA of Ponca City
1604 W. Grand Ave.
Ponca City, OK 74601

Note: The YMCA of Ponca City's Hours are:
5:30 AM - 10 PM
5:30 AM - 9 PM
8:00 AM - 6 PM
1:00 PM - 6 PM

Phone Number: 580-765-6108


The 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team ("Thunderbird"[) is a modular Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the United States Army headquartered in Oklahoma City,Oklahoma. It is a part of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
Formed from the downsized 45th Infantry Division which saw action during World War II and the Korean War, the 45th Infantry Brigade was activated in 1968 and assigned to training duties for active duty army units for most of its history. Selected as an "enhanced" brigade in 1994, the 45th saw deployment as part of the UN peacekeeping force in the wake of the Bosnian War, being among the first National Guard soldiers to see duty in Bosnia. Its first deployment to Afghanistan to train soldiers of the Afghan Army was followed by a deployment to Iraq to assist in the turning over of American military bases to Iraqi forces.
The brigade received all heraldry, lineage and honors from the 45th Infantry Division, including its Shoulder Sleeve Insignia and campaign streamers for combat in World War II and Korea. It has since received several of its own decorations for participation in the subsequent conflicts.

After months of training and honing their skills to a fine razor's edge, more than 2,900 soldiers with Oklahoma's 45th Infantry Brigade begin leaving for a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Two other battalions will be deployed to Kuwait to help support operations in Iraq.

The Oklahoma Army National Guard troops will be dispatched to the east-central region of Afghanistan, where they will perform a "full spectrum" of duties, according to military officials.

Among those duties will be working with the local population in nation-building efforts, helping to train the Afghan national army and also conducting combat operations.

The soldiers, who have trained at Camp Shelby, Miss., and Fort Polk, La., left for Afghanistan and Kuwait in June, 2011.

The 45th Infantry Brigade is replacing the Iowa Army National Guard, which has conducted operations around the regions of Bagram Airbase, south to Kabul and further south to Gardez.


Kristin Chapman and her children Taylor (9), Lauren (7), and Samuel (3) from Liberia came to help pack boxes for Operation Pioneer Spirit to send to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas recently. This wonderful family, along with many other volunteers, helped bring the total number of boxes sent to the soldiers to 15,077 to date. Kristin and her husband, Keith, a dentist, are missionaries who have lived the past 4 years on a medical missionary ship on the coast of West Africa. They have served with Mercy Ships, a nondenominational Christian organization providing medical services to third world countries in Africa including Liberia, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Currently they are back in the US, raising funds to build a home and permanent dental facility in Liberia. They will be here for just a few more weeks before returning to Liberia to begin this new phase of their missionary work. (Currently, there are only 2 dentists in the entire country of Liberia!) We appreciate their help with Operation Pioneer Spirit while they were here in Ponca City.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."  Edmund Burke

Over 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln wrote I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."  If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, I know he would be so proud of you. Operation Pioneer Spirit has attained the awesome goal of sending 15,077 boxes, including 6000+ handmade patriotic pillows, to our courageous soldiers fighting overseas in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan!!!

 What started as a conversation in front of the Pioneer Woman Museum one Saturday morning has grown into a multi-state project. What began as an idea one hot August afternoon has grown into a project that no one in the beginning ever dreamed possible.

15,077 boxes!!! Yes, its hard to believe, but it is true. My fellow Oklahomans, you should be bursting with pride and patting yourselves on the back.  It has only been almost two years since we began August 9, 2006, but Operation Pioneer Spirit has mailed over 15,077boxes to our troops fighting overseas. Our Oklahoma soldiers have been deeply touched by your generosity and your desire to help them. These young men and women will never ever forget your generosity! They will be telling their children, their grand- children, and great-grandchildren how the good folks in Ponca City, Shidler, Enid, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, New York, Florida, and Colorado reached deep into their pockets to make sure they would not be forgotten. They know without a doubt that you have not forgotten them and to a soldier fighting overseas that means everything!

Children and teachers from area schools, Sunday School groups, the Girl Scouts, volunteer firemen, senior citizens, businesses large and small, teenagers, college students, the handicapped, veterans of all ages, all have helped send these 15,077 boxes.  

You may think that a piece of hard candy, a package of peanut butter crackers, DVD's, a pillow, feminine hygiene products are not much, but to our soldiers it represents Oklahoma. It came from the BEST country in the whole world, the United States of America!  It came from the land they love and dream about. The land they are fighting for. The land they are willing to lay their lives on the line for-AMERICA!

    These courageous soldiers go out every night and every day knowing that the enemy is out there, waiting for them around the bend, on the other side of the bridge, waiting for them down the road and still they go. They go out every night and every day knowing that they may not come back and still they go. They know that out in the darkness danger is lurking and still they go. They go because they love this country. They believe in freedom. They go because they know in their heart of hearts that they are making a difference. They go because they believe in America and what it stands for. Most of them are just kids...but they are not just kids...they are warriors. They are our heroes.

They are making a tremendous sacrifice for all of us, and so, these things that we send...the toiletries, the socks, the books, the board games, the letters, the DVD's, the books, the pillows, and the prayers lets them know that they are loved, appreciated and that we are grateful for their sacrifice.

Please continue writing them letters of encouragement. Encourage your children or grandchildren to write letters or draw pictures to be sent to our soldiers.  Bring your toiletries, snacks, games, food items, and letters to the Pioneer Woman Museum.  Money is always needed to defray mailing costs, so please continue bringing or sending your checks to the YMCA of Ponca City, 1604 W. Grand Ave., Ponca City, OK 74601. If you live in Ponca City, you can take them to the Bank of Oklahoma located in Food Pyramid. Make your checks out to Operation Pioneer Spirit.

Yes, Abraham Lincoln would be bursting with pride because of your support of Operation Pioneer Spirit. Thank You.

Mary Anne Potter

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty." -- John F. Kennedy

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