The Oklahoma National Guard (OKNG), comprised of Army and Air Force components, has a storied history of service to our nation and state since its creation by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890. They served as Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and after statehood, served to protect the U.S. on the Mexican border 1916–1917. Returning home in March 1917, a month later they mobilized again to serve overseas during WWI.
The 45th infantry Division (ID) and the 125th Observation Squadron (predecessor to the OK Air National Guard, OKANG) were mobilized into Federal service before the U.S. entered WWII in December 1941. The 45th ID served 511 days in combat in Italy, France and Germany resulting in nine Medal of Honor recipients, 77 Distinguished Service Cross recipients, and more than 1,100 Silver Star recipients.
The 45th ID of the Oklahoma Army National Guard (OKARNG) and the OKANG mobilized in 1950 in response to the Korea War. The OKANG served in Korea, Japan, and Europe. In 1990–1991, OKARNG's members were activated in support of Operations Desert Shield/Storm.
Major descendent units of the 45th ID in the OKARNG are the Joint Force Headquarters; the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; the 45th Field Artillery Brigade; and 90th Troop Command. The OKARNG has lost 19 Soldiers in the Global War on Terrorism. Major descendent units of the OKANG today are the 137th Special Operations Wing in Oklahoma City and the 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa. These commands have mobilized throughout the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and on the Pacific's Okinawa Islands. Since 9/11, members of the OKNG have deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and Freedom Sentinel.
OKNG domestic operations have included responding to the McAlester Prison riots; bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building; Hurricane Katrina, search and rescue missions; etc. Today, F-16 fighters from the 138th Fighter Wing remain on air combat alert in an air sovereign mission to protect our borders. The OKNG continues its mission to serve and protect the citizens of Oklahoma and the United States.