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Fort Sill soldiers tour capital as part of Warrior Transition Unit

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OKLAHOMA CITY Okla_ About an hour before T.W. Shannon was sworn in as the new Speaker of the House, he could be seen greeting, thanking and answering questions with a group of wounded Fort Sill soldiers.

The group was invited to the capitol for a tour, lunch, and Q&A session with the new speaker. The soldiers are all part of Fort Sill's Warrior Transition Unit.

The WTU helps soldiers with mental or physical injuries to transition out of active service. They help the soldiers discover talents and skills and then assist in their transition into the private sector, whether to another occupation or going back to school. The invitation to the capitol was a statement of gratitude for the sacrifices these men and women have made.

Sergeant David Cope II has a leg injury after completing two tours. Now, the military is helping him find his way.

"I'd like to go back to school full time and finish out a degree," Cope said. "I'm interested in biology. So, I want to try to go into biology and be a secondary education teacher, a high school teacher."

After several concussions and back injuries, Barry Dilley is seeking the simple life.

"I just want to retire," Dilley said. "I want to spend time with my family and grandkids."

The WTU is helping him get there. In Tuesday's tour, there were Fort Sill soldiers from all over the country. They got the chance to look up at the domed ceiling, admire artwork and visit the chambers, getting a little better connected to Oklahoma.

Cope's not an Oklahoman by birth, but he plans on staying here.

"It does have a lot of history," Cope said, "From the trail of tears when the US government took Indian tribes and moved them into the state, to the great baseball player Mickey Mantle, to the great actor Will Rogers."

Dilley, an Okie by birth and by heart, loved the opportunity the new Speaker of the House gave him to learn even more about his home state.

"It means a lot," Dilley said. "I just love being here and serving the state and the country."

 

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