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President Biden signs bill to rename Owasso post office after guardsman killed in Iraq

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MARSHAL D. ROBERTS (copy)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts of Owasso was killed Wednesday during a rocket attack in Iraq. Roberts served with the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron, 138th Fighter Wing, which is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

President Joe Biden signed a new law into effect Thursday to rename the Owasso Post Office after a fallen veteran.

Biden’s signature on HR 1298 ensures that the facility will be rebranded as the “Technical Sergeant Marshal Roberts Post Office Building.”

The Post Office, located at 1233 N. Cedar St., will serve as a namesake for Tech. Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts, a 28-year-old Oklahoma Air National Guardsman from Owasso who was killed while deployed overseas in March 2020.

Representative Kevin Hern first introduced the legislation to the House in October 2020. His cohorts Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, Markwayne Mullin and Stephanie Bice served as original cosponsors of the bill, which passed on Feb. 1, 2022. Senator James Lankford led the bill in the Senate, where it passed on May 25, 2022.

“I’m glad to see this bill signed into law,” Hern said in a release. “Sergeant Roberts’ legacy lives on — not only in Owasso, but around our state and nation. Naming the Owasso Post Office after Sgt. Roberts is a small, but important, gesture of our gratitude for his service and sacrifice.”

Lankford added, “Our nation remembers our heroes. Technical Sergeant Roberts is one of those national heroes whose actions and patriotism deserve to be forever remembered in his hometown of Owasso. This Post Office, now officially named in his honor, will serve as a reminder to his family, friends and service members of the ultimate sacrifice he gave to keep us safe and protect our freedom.”

The legislation to rename the post office pays homage to Roberts’ sacrifice, which came in the line of indirect enemy fire while stationed at Camp Taji in Iraq on March 11, 2020.

Serving with the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron, Roberts was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve about 20 miles north of Baghdad when his unit was hit with a rocket attack.

The engagement claimed Roberts’ life and that of another American soldier, along with a U.K. service member and two Iraqi Security Forces members. Fourteen others were wounded, including Oklahoma’s Tech. Sgt. Ariel E. White.

Since his death, Roberts’ name has lived on through the inspirational efforts of others. The Oklahoma Air National Guard in March 2021, for example, dedicated a facility at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base in his remembrance. Eight months later, a 4-mile stretch of Oklahoma 20 between Owasso and Claremore adopted the fallen soldier’s namesake.

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