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Lankford Leads Congressional Delegation to Visit Oklahoma National Guard Members Deployed to Africa

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK)returned today from a congressional delegation trip he led to the Horn of Africa to connect with members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard in the USAFRICOM area of responsibility (AOR) as part of Task Force Tomahawk.

Also traveling with Lankford were Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who serves on the Armed Services Committee, Oklahoma Governor J. Kevin Stitt, and Major General Thomas Mancino, Adjutant General of Oklahoma. Representatives Jim Banks (R-IN) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) also participated in the CODEL as Indiana National Guard members are also part of Task Force Tomahawk.

“Seeing our Oklahoma Guard members proudly protect our nation half-way around the world was humbling and inspiring,” said Lankford. “They are safe, motivated, and ready to finish the last three months of their long deployment so they can get home to their families. They are an ocean away from their families, but their mission is a vital national task of security and confronting the growing terrorist threat in Africa. Our nation has learned the hard way that we cannot assume terrorism on the other side of the globe will not affect the homeland.

“We brought the men and women in uniform our support and admiration, and a taste of home in cases of Oklahoma Head Country BBQ sauce and Chick-fil-A sauce provided by the Wounded Warrior Project and an Oklahoma store owner. Our Oklahoma Army National Guard has a proud tradition of service. I heard their stories around the tables over meals and from leaders who were incredibly impressed with their excellence and attitude.”

“It was a privilege to spend Veterans Day weekend with Oklahoma’s National Guard members deployed with Task Force Tomahawk in the Horn of Africa alongside my wife Christie, Governor Stitt, and my fellow congressional delegation colleagues,” said Mullin. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the sacrifice each and every one of these national guardsmen and women, along with their loved ones, have made to protect our homeland in the US and abroad. As we enter the holiday season, may we all reflect on this sacrifice and say a prayer of gratitude for their service.”

“It was an honor to spend time with our brave Oklahoma service men and woman in Djibouti this week,” said Stitt. “As the proud dad of one of those service members, this visit was special. I’m grateful for all the families back in Oklahoma who are praying for the safety of their service member and I’m proud of each of these soldiers who answered the call and are serving their country.”

The delegation visited troops stationed in Djibouti and Kenya. The visit enabled the delegation to assess the current state of US operations in the USAFRICOM AOR, as well as US crisis response efforts throughout the region. The visit also provided opportunities to assess emerging threats to the homeland and identify opportunities for cooperation with allies to protect the American people.

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