While there, Senator Inhofe toured the Regional Correctional Facility (RCF). The RCF at Fort Sill is one of the Department of Defense's prison facilities that is being closed by the 2005 BRAC and has been listed as a possible location where Guantanamo (GTMO) detainees could be relocated. The RCF opened in 1977 and provides correctional treatment for up to 156 male prisoners. The prison is a mere half-mile from Fort Sill's family housing and only two and a half miles from the closest school.
"I want to make absolutely clear to the residents of Lawton and the entire state of Oklahoma that I am doing everything I can to make certain Fort Sill does not become the next home to any of the terrorists now being held at Gitmo," Senator Inhofe said. "The decision to close Gitmo is irresponsible and unwarranted. As a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am leading the efforts in the United States Senate to ensure none of the detainees end up in Oklahoma or anywhere on American soil."
On February 4, 2009, Senator Inhofe introduced legislation (S.370) to prevent the detainees at Guantanamo from being relocated anywhere on American soil. The introduction of the bill came just two days after Senator Inhofe led a Congressional Delegation to Guantanamo Bay to see firsthand the state of the prison operations and get the facts out about its critical role in keeping U.S. national security. (Watch Inhofe YouTube Video from Gitmo)
"Many of those in favor of closing Gitmo have never seen it first-hand, so I was glad today to hear that Attorney General Eric Holder plans to visit Gitmo next Monday. I remain optimistic that after the Obama Administration considers the facts on the ground they too will appreciate the grave national security threat to the United States if Gitmo were to be shut down. I firmly believe that transferring terrorists to American soil should be completely out of the question and I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure this never happens."
Also today while at Fort Sill, Senator Inhofe viewed the 1960s era Paladin and watched an artillery demonstration by Soldiers of the 214th Fires Brigade. The Paladin will be undergoing an improvement program called PIM (Paladin Improvement Module), which will increase its effectiveness and lethality. The Paladin is the artillery piece that will ultimately be replaced by the Non-Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C). The NLOS-C is being integrated in Elgin, Oklahoma, right outside of Fort Sill.
"The Army's current cannon, the Paladin, is a 40 year old platform," Senator Inhofe said. "I look forward to the day that the NLOS-C, the cannon component of the Army's Future Combat Systems, is integrated at the BAE facility in Elgin and roll-off the line for testing and training right here at Fort Sill."
Senator Inhofe also met with a unit of Soldiers that just returned from deploying in support of the Global War on Terror. The 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment returned on Sunday from Iraq.
"I was proud to meet the 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment after they completed their deployment overseas," Senator Inhofe said. "They have bravely and selflessly served our nation abroad, and I could not be more proud of their service.
"As the Army's home for field artillery and the Fires Center of Excellence, Fort Sill remains a great source of pride for Oklahoma and the U.S. Army. Its Soldiers continue to deploy in support of our nation's fight against terrorism as well as train the next generation of our fighting men and women."