More than 3,200 Oklahomans will return from Afghanistan and Kuwait starting in March.
About 2,200 of them were deployed in June and July to Afghanistan, working to secure the country in one of its most volatile regions along the Pakistani border.
The 179th Infantry Regiment of Stillwater, the 279th Infantry Regiment of Tulsa and the 700th Support Battalion of Oklahoma City have been supporting combat operations in the east-central region of Afghanistan. At the last moment, members of the 180th Cavalry of Durant and 160th Field Artillery of Chandler were deployed to Kuwait to assist with supply routes in the region and base security.
Oklahoma Guard soldiers there took part in the December withdrawal of the last U.S. soldiers from Iraq and were part of the surge of forces in Afghanistan that attempted to quell some of the violence in that country.
During the past several months, soldiers have made strides in Afghanistan, including making some areas more accessible to the Afghan government. But those victories were hard won.
Since July 29, 14 Oklahoma National Guard soldiers have been killed -- all of them in Afghanistan's Laghman and Patkia provinces.
- JERRY WOFFORD, World Staff Writer
City Council and Mayor Dewey Bartlett: Holding breath on productivity at City Hall
Everyone is watching to see whether political productivity can exist within Tulsa's City Hall, and if not, what will be the issue or the event that cracks it.
With election politics nearing for a third of the council seats up this fall, a controversial switch in trash service and other issues that inevitably will arise, the opportunities for lively discussions, close votes and political posturing will be plenty.
Council Chairman G.T. Bynum and Mayor Dewey Bartlett say this year should bring cooperation, but they agree it will have its share of disagreements.
But, they say, there is a big difference between energetic debates and fights filled with personal attacks.
"We all get that," said Bartlett, who is up for re-election in 2013.
Bynum notes that the city has a mayor and nine councilors all with their own life experiences and viewpoints.
Then add the upcoming election politics for candidates who will vie for council District 1, 4 and 7 seats. A couple of years ago, voters approved a measure that created three-year staggered council terms resulting in three of the nine councilors being up for election every year.
In November, voters reversed that measure, returning to the two-year terms with all councilors up for election at once; but the new measure isn't effective until 2014.
- P.J. LASSEK, World Staff Writer
Shane Fernandez: Mosaic behind diversity push
Poised to begin its first full year in 2012, Mosaic is ultimately concerned with Tulsa's ability to compete in the global marketplace, says Shane Fernandez, chairman of the new Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce program, which promotes diversity in the business community.
Essentially a new and improved version of the chamber's former Minority Business Council, Mosaic was officially introduced in October, he said.
The goal, Fernandez said, is to encourage businesses to be "more aware
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