Exactly 10 years ago, we launched OklahomIraqis.com and a new era of the OIL was born. As a league, we were approaching our fifth season, and "The OIL" wasn't yet in our vocabulary. It was either the OklahomIraqis League or just "the league," not that either name was uttered much in the offseason. So it isn't a coincidence that I started this site that offseason, just one month before I was scheduled to leave the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Leaving the 158 meant I would no longer see the guys at least once a month, and this site was the first step to keep up the communication outside of football season. I think it's been a success.
And the launch of the website was the catalyst for what the OIL is today. To see how different things were then, just look at the first OIL logo and first blog post:
While typing in oklahomiraqis.com will still get you here, the site has changed exponentially. It averages over 1,600 unique visitors per week during the offseason and has grown from about a dozen pages to well over 100. The logo has evolved while remaining true to its roots, and the team names and logos have improved dramatically.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the cooperation of the league members, as begrudging it is at times. Thanks for all the help over the years.
On this 10th anniversary of the league website, what are your favorite additions? What would you like to see moving forward?
This is a little late, but it's important. Our SECFOR brothers lost another one. On February 19, 2020, Aaron Helton died in Duncan. Helton was on the 2005-2006 mission and the 2008-2009 Ramadi deployment. At least 20 158th brothers were at Helton's funeral, and he received full military honors.
Helton lives on in the OIL through the Hard Targets, whose logo is based on the former First Platoon Hard Target. Rest in peace, brother.