|Fort Gibson, 1870's Wikipedia, public domain|
By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez
Thank you for joining us in our fifth and final article covering the rich and diverse history of the U.S. Army and its effects on the history of the state of Oklahoma. In the last four articles, we have covered how the Army assisted in the Indian Removal Act, the assorted Trails of Tears, the War Between the States, the Southern Plains Indian Wars, and policing the territory during the time of the Land Runs. That was all during the 19th century. Obviously, it was rugged, and at different times, places were quite lawless. During the 20th Century, the Oklahoma Army National Guard assisted in World War I, the Tulsa Race Riots, World War II, and Korea.
First let us say: we wish to pay our respects to the brave men and women of our military, and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them, particularly those currently on deployment outside our country and away from their families.
After Korea, the 45th Infantry Division, being limited to only citizens of Oklahoma, continued to assist in the recovery actions during several natural disasters, however, they did not see any action during Vietnam. In 1968, due to a paradigm shift in the Department of the Army, the 45th Infantry Division was disbanded and became the 45th Infantry Brigade.
In the intervening years, the 45th has been involved in the conflicts in Bosnia, Gulf War 1 (also known as the Iraq War), and Gulf War 2(also known as the War on Terror—9/11 to present). They have also been involved with the recovery efforts for numerous natural disasters along the home-front, including numerous tornadoes, hurricanes, and acts of terrorism (the Murrah bombing—I did a blog on it and you can find it here).
The U.S. Army has several active posts throughout the state, including but not limited to, Fort Sill, the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant (and all surrounding facilities), and numerous Army National Guard Posts. According to governing.com there are more than 11,000 active duty Army troops that are currently serving recruited from Oklahoma. Oklahoma has the 3rd highest recruitment rate per capita in the U.S. for the military in general.
Thank you for joining us this month as we have completed our discovery of the U.S. Army and the influence they have had on the history and development of our great state. Join us next month as we delve into the Air Force and their influence on our state.
Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Alanna loves the history of the state and relishes in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her first published story, part of a collaborative novella titled Legacy Letters, came out September 2016. Alanna lives with her husband and parents in the Edmond area. She is currently working on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Waterloo, Oklahoma.