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A HIMARS from Alpha Battery, 1 Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, Oklahoma National Guard — now deployed to Zabul, Afghanistan — fires a rocket recently in support of Operation Brothers United. It was the first time a rocket had been fired in combat by the Oklahoma unit since Operation Desert Storm in the first Gulf War.

Soldier sons carry on legacy of fathers

“The fact that we have soldiers providing fire support in combat in the same battalion that their fathers served with in combat speaks volumes about who we are as the Guard.” COL.MIKE CHASE COMMANDER, 45TH FIRES BRIGADE

More than 20 years ago, their fathers left their civilian jobs and put on their military uniforms to help defeat Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Republican Guard.

A couple of weeks ago, the young men of Battery A, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, 45th Fires Brigade, Oklahoma Army National Guard, carried on the family tradition of taking the fight to the enemy by firing rockets in Afghanistan against insurgent positions.

In late 1990, 429 citizen-soldiers left Oklahoma for the first Gulf War rather anonymously, but came home heroes. The 1-158 FA was so good that Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. wrote in an article published in May 1991 that "They (reserve component artillery units) are part of the ground attack, with the Oklahomans achieving the highest rate of fire in Third Army."

In all, they fired 903 rockets and traveled hundreds of kilometers in support of VII Corps in support of offensive operations that helped lead to an overwhelming U.S. victory.

Since 9/11, the 158th has deployed thousands of soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq, but none of the deployments had the artillerymen firing rockets. They were all security and convoy support missions. That changed on Oct. 14, 2013, when Battery A deployed to Afghanistan to support Regional Command (South) with a field artillery mission.

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