June 13, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today visited several hundred men and women of the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) currently in the process of deploying from Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Inhofe made the trip in an effort to better understand why the 45th ICBT received a last minute re-missioning. Units, originally set to deploy to Afghanistan, will now have some deployed to Kuwait instead.
“Camp Shelby is providing outstanding training and support to our Oklahoma soldiers,” Inhofe said. “The last minute nature of the re-missioning of two battalions to Kuwait has impacted their training and deployment. The soldiers of the 45th believe their re-missioning is part of a drawdown in Afghanistan, even though an assessment from the General Petraeus is still outstanding, and the administration has yet to discuss drawdown plans with Congress. That is troubling to me, because any drawdown must be based on conditions on the ground.”
Inhofe continued, “We must ensure we have the forces properly trained and in-place to execute our missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. Last minute re-taskings unnecessarily increase risk. As Secretary Gates and our military commanders have made clear, the progress we have made in Afghanistan, which I saw firsthand earlier this year, is fragile and reversible. Any major change could destroy all progress made to date, and we must not allow that to happen.”
Inhofe viewed the 45th as they had equipment issued, witnessed various training sessions, and addressed the group during his visit.