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Always ready, always there


Oklahoma’s National Guard Soldiers By Charles Sasser


he Oklahoma National Guard (OKNG) has fought with distinc- tion in every major


U.S. war since its creation as the Oklahoma Territorial National Guard in 1895. Curiously enough, its original unit patch was an ancient good luck sym- bol—the swastika, abandoned in the 1930s after the Nazis stole it.


The National Defense Act of June 3, 1916, formally incorpo- rated the National Guard as a reserve component of the U.S. Army. Sixteen days later, the Oklahoma National Guard was called up for the fi rst time to guard the border against Pancho Villa. Since then, Oklahoma’s soldiers have proved the metal of their motto, “Always Ready-Always There,” with over a century of duty—in both World Wars; in Korea where they fought gal- lantly on such iconic battlefi elds as Heartbreak Ridge; UN peace- keeping duty in Bosnia; in the Persian Gulf War; and now in the Global War on Terror.


NOVEMBER 2014 15


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