Senator Visits Foreign Leaders and Oklahoma Troops

WASHINGTON-U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) has returned from leading a bipartisan and swift exploratory mission through Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. In cooperation with AT&T the Senator distributed over 900 prepaid long distance calling cards to soldiers he encountered along his trip so they may better communicate with loved ones back home. Images from the Senator’s trip will soon be available on his website: <> Senator Inhofe first met in Kuwait with civilian contractors from the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) as well as Oklahoma soldiers stationed in the area. These Oklahomans have been providing expertise in the area of ordinance, ammunition, and in-theater transport for the ongoing military operations in the War on Terror. Senator Inhofe next flew in a C-130 military transport to Mosul in the northern region of Iraq. While in Mosul, Senator Inhofe had the opportunity to sit down with Oklahoma troops stationed in the area. Additionally, the Senator met with commanding officers, was briefed on the status of ongoing military operations, and discussed the increased responsibilities of Iraqi security forces in the area. Inhofe then flew to a U.S. airbase in Balad, Iraq where he once again met with Oklahoma soldiers and had the opportunity to discuss their mission with them over lunch on base. At that time the base came under mortar attack from unknown enemies; however, the Senator continued his discussion and did not evacuate. The Senator also closely examined a U.S. Air Force Predator Drone operation in place in the area and took the time to pilot the unmanned aircraft from the plane’s ground station. As an experienced commercially rated pilot, Inhofe enjoyed the opportunity to observe the flight characteristics of some of the Air Force’s newest equipment. The final stop on Senator Inhofe’s trip was the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan. It was in Kabul that the Senator met with many of the over 700 Oklahoma Guard and Reserve soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan. The 45th Infantry Brigade (Based out of Oklahoma City) is currently responsible for the training of the Afghan National Army (ANA), which is set to reach 10,000 soldiers by June. Senator Inhofe closely observed training operations carried out by Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry Brigade in the field. Senator Inhofe also met with Afghanistan President, Hamid Karzai, to discuss the ongoing War on Terror and the positive contributions of Oklahoma soldiers’ in the training of the new Afghan National Army.