By James Beaty
This year’s Missing Man Table at the upcoming Armed Forces Day Luncheon in McAlester will be dedicated to not only one soldier, but to missing men — those members of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oklahoma National Guard who have died recently died in action.
The 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is linked to the famed 45th Infantry Division which was reorganized into a brigade configuration in 1968, according to Max Moss, public affairs officer with the Oklahoma National Guard.
Jeff Wolf, a member of the Armed Forces Day organizing committee, said the group decided to honor the soldiers at this year’s luncheon.
Brigadier General Hopper T. Smith, who is the assistant adjutant general for the Oklahoma Army National Guard, is featured speaker for the luncheon. It’s set for 11 a.m. on Friday, May 3, at Building 59 on the McAAP grounds.
As assistant adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard, Smith is charged with advising and assisting the adjutant general on oversight of logistics, training, administration and personnel actions, according to his biography.
He also directs the immediate staff and provides guidance to the staff and subordinate commanders.
“General Smith also facilitates command staff decisions pertaining to force development, planning, strength maintenance, and task force operations,” the information states. “He advises the adjutant general concerning any issue or matter that affects the Oklahoma Army National Guard, its citizen soldiers, and their families.”
In an earlier assignment, he has served as commander and senior combat advisor in Afghanistan
Following the May 3 luncheon, the annual Armed Forces Day Parade is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, in downtown McAlester.
Immediately following the parade, a fly-in and fun day is set at McAlester Regional Airport, with the opening ceremony expected to begin around noon.
Tickets for the May 3 luncheon are still available at the McAlester Chamber of Commerce office at 101 S. 2nd St.
Tickets cost $25 for individuals. Half-corporate tables, which include four seats plus a soldier as guest, are $125, according to Vicki Jones, of the Chamber. Corporate tables, which include a table with nine seats plus a soldier, are $250.
Tickets sales are set to end April 26, Jones said. Tickets must be purchased in-person and are not available on-line, she said. Chamber hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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