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March 23, 2011

OU, Thunder to honor brigade

Oklahoma City — University of Oklahoma Outreach, Oklahoma City Thunder and Oklahoma dignitaries from various government offices and branches of service will join together to honor the Oklahoma National Guard 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team 7 p.m. today during the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz game at the Oklahoma City Arena.

The Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is headquartered in Norman. The deployment of the unit’s some 3,200 troops to Afghanistan is the largest deployment of Oklahoma National Guardsmen since the Korean War.

A special presentation following half-time entertainment will include an honorary flag presentation and a short video honoring the Oklahoma National Guard 45th Infantry created by Staplegun, featuring Coach Scott Brooks, Coach Bob Stoops and Coach Sherri Coale. Three children whose parents are currently deployed will throw the game ball and serve as honorary captains.

“The citizen-soldiers serving in the 45th represent everything that is so great about our state. For many of them, this is their second, third or even fourth deployment,” said the Adjutant General for Oklahoma, Maj. Gen. Myles L. Deering. “For OU Outreach and the Thunder to recognize them like this means a great deal not only to our troops, but also to their families. ...”

The celebratory night dignitaries will include Retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, Oklahoma Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Maj. Gen. Deering, and many other distinguished government, military and OU Outreach attendees, including Dr. James Pappas, vice president of University Outreach and dean of the College of Liberal Studies.

“We are so excited to share this Thunder game with our soldiers from the 45th Infantry Combat Brigade Team,” Pappas said. “Their service, patriotism and commitment to our country allow us the freedom to enjoy special nights like these. We are so grateful to each of them and, of course, their family members, as well,” Pappas said.

For more information, call Elizabeth Sieg at 325-4351.

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