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Guard soldiers honored at Ford Center before deployment

OKLAHOMA CITY_ There was "Thunder" in Oklahoma City's Ford Center Saturday, but it was not Oklahoma's new NBA team. It was a thunder of cheers and applause as the Oklahoma National Guard honored 800 soldiers during a deployment ceremony at the arena.

Family, friends, and fans supported the troops, with some holding up signs and posters for their favorite soldiers. The jumbo-tron even turned into a flag pole with videos of stars and stripes waving.The 45th Fires Brigade's commander, Colonel Glen Moore, said the last attendance number he'd heard was over 7000 friends and family.

The soldiers are from units stationed throughout the state, including 500 from a battalion headquartered in Lawton. The soldiers will have the next couple of days to visit with their families. They will report to the Lawton Armory on Tuesday, where they will load up all their equipment and supplies.  They'll leave town for Fort Hood on Wednesday.

They'll spend the next two to three months training for their missions before leaving for Iraq and Kuwait.

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