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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Oct. 19, 2023

Oklahoma Army National Guard Soldier trains for the Olympics

By Anthony Jones and Spc. Danielle Rayon, Oklahoma National Guard

The Oklahoma Army National Guard is made up of more than 8,000 Citizen-Soldiers but only one holds the title of Soldier-athlete – Spc. Dalton Duffield.

Hailing from Moore, Oklahoma, and serving as a horizontal construction engineer with the 3120th Engineer Support Company, 120th Engineer Battalion, Duffield discovered an extraordinary way to blend his love for wrestling with his dedication to his state and nation.

“I’ve been wrestling since I was about 7 or 8 years old,” Duffield said, adding he was inspired to start wrestling after watching World Wrestling Entertainment on television. “I had a bunch of life-size stuffed animals like the ones you’d get from the fair, and I’d wrestle them in the living room." Finally, my dad bugged my mom saying ‘We need to put him in wrestling’ and so at a young age, they took me to wrestling practice, and I loved it.”

From those early living room battles to becoming a Greco-Roman wrestler, Duffield's wrestling journey is nothing short of remarkable. Today, he serves as a proud member of the Oklahoma National Guard and is on a relentless pursuit of excellence in his sport, thanks to the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program.

The WCAP allows top-ranked Soldier-athletes to perform at the international level while serving the nation in uniform. WCAP Soldiers come from the Active, Reserve and National Guard components and are selected for their ability to perform at the highest level of their sports.

Duffield chose to join the Oklahoma Army National Guard as a way to reach the WCAP after speaking with fellow wrestler and OKARNG recruiter, Staff Sgt. Zachary D’Amico.

“He already knew what he wanted to do when it came to joining WCAP and pursuing his Olympic dreams,” D’Amico said. “What we did was sit down and find the best way for him to get there and what was the best for his family, and that was to join as a Citizen-Soldier.”

The pair had wrestled against each other while at college and when Duffield decided to join the WCAP, D’Amico helped him join the National Guard so he could serve his state and nation while wrestling on the world stage.

“Even before starting the recruiting process, Dalton had spoken with WCAP coaches and knew that’s what he wanted to do,” D’Amico said. “Dalton chose the Guard over Active and Reserves because we gave him the best opportunities to reach his goals and now it’s great to see him representing Oklahoma at the highest levels.”

Once in the program, Soldier-athletes like Duffield receive top-tier training from elite civilian and military coaches. Simultaneously, they fulfill their military duties, attend relevant military schools, and maintain their competitive edge against fellow uniformed athletes.

“The World Class Athlete Program gives you big opportunities that most people don’t get, such as to serve your country, and compete in my sport and continue to try to reach Olympic goals,” Duffield said. “I’m gaining all these accolades, but I’m also helping something bigger than myself. I’m working on something that’s not just for me personally.”

Thanks in part to being a member of the WCAP, Duffield is a 6-time U.S. National Team member, and in 2023 alone, won 1st place in the Final X Wrestling Challenge Tournament and Pan-American Wrestling Championships and 2nd Place at the Final X Wrestling Tournament and Armed Forces Championships.

“I feel like we really push toward the ‘be all you can be’ motto for the Army,” Duffield said. “The Army has so much to offer and you have so much more to offer the Army than you could ever think. Anything you could possibly want to do throughout the world, the Army offers it in some shape or form.”
Video by Cpl. Danielle Rayon
Oklahoma National Guard breaks ground on new museum
Oklahoma National Guard
May 16, 2024 | 1:42
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma National Guard broke ground on the new Oklahoma National Guard Museum in Oklahoma City in a ceremony attended by veterans and current National Guard members on May 16.

“Today is a milestone for us as we kick off [construction of the new museum],” said Denise Neil, executive director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum. “It’s an exciting time, shoveling the dirt forward as a symbolic way to show our kick-off.”

Neil said the new 39,375-square-foot building, located at 3301 NE Grand Blvd in Oklahoma City, will provide the Museum with the space and tools needed to tell the Oklahoma National Guard’s story from its founding through modern times.

Denise Neil; Executive Director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum