Operation Pioneer Spirit Events


Oklahoma's Famed 45th Infantry

Enthusiastic crowds recently welcomed home the members of the 45th Infantry Brigade with state leaders, brigade officers, family and friends greeting the soldiers after they returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan and Kuwait.
The soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base hangar in Oklahoma City during all of March 2012 following what Lt. Col. Max Moss said was an all-night bus ride from Camp Shelby in Mississippi, where they arrived for demobilization.

Thousands upon thousands attended their soldier’s homecoming, which was marked by emotional standing ovations for the families of fallen 45th soldiers who were killed while being deployed. 14 members of the brigade were killed during the deployment, and military portraits of each stood in the hangar in their honor.

“You’re home from a tough deployment, you’ve done a remarkable job,” Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, adjutant general of the state guard, told each group of returning soldiers shortly after they marched through the hanger gates.

“I know you want to celebrate and have fun, but please be careful,” Deering told his troops. “Take your time home slowly and carefully. Reintegration is a process, it is not an event.”

Other speakers during the Welcoming Home Ceremonies included Gov. Mary Fallin, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and U.S. Rep. James Lankford, whose congressional district includes the base.

About 2,200 soldiers from the 45th were sent to Afghanistan in June 2011, and another 800 were deployed at the same time to Kuwait. Welcome Home, soldiers, and congratulations on a job well done!


Afghanistan for Oklahoma's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team hasn't changed, and is expected to be no less dangerous with the death of Osama bin Laden.

Still, the death of bin Laden was a good day for the soldiers, said their commander, Col. Joel Ward. As Oklahoma's military installations remained on heightened alert after the terrorist leader's death, about 3,400 troops from the Oklahoma National Guard unit are in Afghanistan currently.

Ward said the news of bin Laden's death was well-received by the troops, who are training at Camp Shelby, Miss. He said the soldiers have particularly enjoyed the images of Americans in the streets celebrating and waving flags in Washington and New York .

“I think it is more of a morale booster for the American people than it is the soldiers,” Ward said. “But any time the soldiers see the American people supporting their cause, I think it's a good day.” 

Ward said Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are in Afghanistan trying to accomplish their goal.

“They know that while this is certainly a significant event and a win for the U.S., the conditions on the ground are going to change very little,” Ward said. “The tactical relationships remain the same. They are our enemy, and we are their enemy.”

Bin Laden's death is mostly symbolic, Ward said, for U.S. soldiers and their enemies, who have lost the main symbol of their fight against the United States and its allies.

Ward said there is symbolism between the deaths of bin Laden and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Hitler's death was announced by Germany on May 1, 1945, the day after he shot himself in his Berlin bunker. Bin Laden's death was announced 66 years later to the day by President Barack Obama after a U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan left the terrorist leader dead.

“It is certainly a positive event in the global war on terror,” Ward said. “I really wasn't surprised to hear the news. I've expected it to come every day for the past 10 years. I know the focus that has been placed on getting him.”

Read more: http://newsok.com/afghanistan-mission-unchanged-for-oklahomas-45th-infantry-brigade-combat-team/article/3564158#ixzz1SYJVGbyq


A Leader's Open Letter From Iraq

(published in the Tulsa World on Sunday, July 27, 2008)

Editor's note: Lt. Col. Doug Stall of Tulsa is the commanding officer for the 1st Battalion, 279 Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently deployed in Iraq. Creek Six is his call sign.

2 July 2008

This is Creek Six,

I have heard that the news back home has little positive to say about current conditions in Iraq. This is unfortunate since so many soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are sacrificing so much. Therefore, I am compelled to share a little of what I know to provide you a more complete and accurate picture of the conditions in this Theater of Operations. In short, the "surge" is working. The murderous insurgents and criminal elements in Iraq have been knocked on their butts.

In Iraq, we are fighting an insurgency by using a Counterinsurgency Operation (COIN). These are complex subsets of warfare, and are as old as war and governments themselves. Historically, insurgent tactics have remained largely the same, though the media is a more powerful weapon for them (and us) than ever before.

Insurgents win by sowing seeds of discontent to discredit the government, and by maintaining turbulence in the society to cause the population to feel insecure. COIN operations, on the other hand, seek to foster effective governance by a legitimate government. COIN focuses on the populace, and strives to eliminate turbulence and feelings of insecurity. This is done by establishing a relatively safe environment, meeting basic economic needs, providing essential services and sustaining the society's basic qualities of life.

Contrasted with the simplicity of an insurgency, which is to create disorder, a COIN operation is highly complex and difficult. We win by telling the truth and supporting the government, while the insurgent gains the initiative by making unrealistic and/or false claims in an effort to highlight the government's weaknesses.

A simple, but high-profile attack by insurgents provides an extraordinary advantage to their goal far outweighing the tactical significance of the event. COIN historically takes an average of nearly 10 years to succeed and requires vast resources to maintain security in a volatile region.

Complicating matters is that Al Qaeda has introduced a new and very dangerous kind of insurgency that seeks worldwide revolutionary change through violent religiosity.

While I am no expert and cannot speak for this administration or the U.S. Army, it is naïve to believe that we are the root cause of Al Qaeda's efforts or that our counterinsurgency against Al Qaeda can soon end.

Gen. George Patton wrote: "...The mighty seas which are alleged to defend us can also be circumvented by a resolute and ingenious opponent. In war, the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it." We must, therefore, be resolute.

Measures of an effective COIN operation include popular support and confidence in the government, economic vitality, availability of services, and security of the individual. By nearly every measurement, we are out in front of the insurgents and we are succeeding. Here is a snapshot of our recent success.

Al Qaeda's freedom of maneuver has been reduced to a fraction of what it was in December 2006. Attacks against infrastructure and friendly military forces are down more than 80 percent from over one year ago. High-profile attacks with explosives are at their lowest levels in two years.

Civilian deaths are significantly down and are back to levels not seen since January 2006. Ethno-sectarian violence is down. Deaths of U.S. military personnel are the lowest they have been in eighteen months. IED attacks, once average more than sixty per day, now average about ten per day. Indirect fire attacks (mortars and rockets) are the lowest they have been since January 2004.

Caches found this year are more than double the number found in 2006, and the year is only half over. This factor is particularly significant because it reveals the increased level of trust the people have for their government, since Iraqi citizens are the ones who turn in caches to coalition forces.

I have seen crowded markets in downtown Baghdad. Iraq just announced a large investment in its oil production capabilities. The availability of utilities is increasing in urban areas. And the list goes on.

This does not, however, mean that our counterinsurgency operations are over; but we are making significant progress. Unfortunately, this message is not getting out, and people still debate the wisdom of the reasons for this war. However, to borrow from Sir Winston Churchill: "If the present tries to sit in judgment of the past, it will lose the future."

There is no question in my mind that America is the greatest country on earth. We must strive to keep it so.

I hope this letter finds you well. We (the 45 Infantry Brigade Combat Team) should be home by October. Keep us in your prayers. Creek Six, out.

Doug Stall, 1-279 IN, LTC, Commanding

Oklahoma's 45th Infantry Deployment Ceremony

This is Kristin Buck whose father is returning to the war. Kristin is 3 and lives in Edmond with her parents. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Buck. Her grandparents are Larry and Susan Buck of Ponca City.

Kristin Buck and Ashley Hogg


Some of the 2400 Troops that were deployed to Iraq in January

These men and women are part of the 45th Infantry's Honor Guard. They were deployed to Iraq in January 2008.


Soldiers in 45th Infantry

wearing WWII uniforms

Jerry Marks, part of the Wyandotte Indian Color Guard, participated at the 45th Infantry Deployment Ceremony.

Pawnee Honor Guard


Sgt. J. Kerchee, Sgt. M. Potter, Sgt. C. McLaughlin


Recently Returned 1345th Transportation Soldiers Who Participated in the 45th Infantry's Deployment Ceremony. They volunteered to escort VIP's before and during the ceremony.

The holiday leave is over for more than 26-hundred members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, who are now on their way back to Texas. The 45th Infantry Bridgade came home for ten days of holiday leave over Christmas and New Year's. Local businesses donated money and buses to make the trip possible for 'Operation Holiday Homecoming.'

The troops are returning to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas where they will complete their training before deploying to Iraq.