MoonDawg's Den: The 48th is coming home

MoonDawg's Den

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The 48th is coming home

The 4,300 men and women of the GaARNG 48th Brigade Combat Team will start returning to Georgia this week, after a year-long deployment in Iraq. They'll spend some time at Ft. Stewart dealing with outprocessing and then return home to their families. Homecoming celebrations are being planned around the state to welcome back the troops.

The 48th BCT accomplished a great deal during their mission, providing security in the southwestern Baghdad AO, training Iraqi security forces, and performing good works to help Iraqi civilians in need. The Brigade's soldiers and their families have much to be proud of.

One of the 48th's shining moments came last October, when the troops provided security for Iraqis during their critical consitutional vote. In an email he sent after the voting was successfully completed, the Brigade Commander, BG Stewart Rodeheaver, described the scene:

I am writing to tell you that the 48th BCT did an outstanding job during the Iraqi elections held on the 15th of Oct. Your soldiers provided security and assistance that allowed thousands of people, both men and women, that had never been allowed to vote, the opportunity to do so. It was an amazing process. I stood on the streets in Yusofyia, Lutafyia, and Mahamadyia to watch the processes, and saw hundreds of voters who had walked several miles to vote file into the polling places that our soldiers had developed and secured.

The voters voted, dipped their finger in the ink to signify they had voted, and came out the other side of the buildings, most of them in tears. They were so happy they were dancing in the streets, and the atmosphere was that of a festival. The Iraqis could not stop thanking our soldiers, and the best thing is we did it without firing a single shot, or without anyone getting hurt. It was a great day.

A great day indeed. Yet, we need to take a moment and remember those members of the 48th BCT who will not be part of the homecoming celebrations. We grieve with the families for their tragic loss as we honor these troops who made the ultimate sacrifice:

Sgt. Philip A. Dodson Jr, 42, of Forsyth, Georgia

Spc. Marcus S. Futrell, 20, of Macon, Georgia

Staff Sgt. Philip L. Travis, 41, of Snellville, Georgia

Sgt. 1st Class Amos C. Edwards Jr., 41, of Savannah, Georgia

Staff Sgt. George R. Draughn Jr., 29, of Decatur, Georgia

Sgt. 1st Class Robert L. Hollar Jr., 35, of Griffin, Georgia

Spc. Michael J. Stokely, 23, of Sharpsburg, Georgia

Spc. Joshua P. Dingler, 19, of Hiram, Georgia

Sgt. Paul A. Saylor, 21, of Norcross, Georgia

Sgt. Thomas J. Strickland, 27, of Douglasville, Georgia

Spc. Jerry L. Ganey Jr., 29, of Folkston, Georgia

Spc. Mathew V. Gibbs, 21, of Ambrose, Georgia

Sgt. 1st Class Charles H. Warren, 36, of Duluth, Georgia

Sgt. 1st Class Victor A. Anderson, 39, of Ellaville, Georgia

Sgt. Jonathon C. Haggin, 26, of Kingsland, Georgia

Staff Sgt. David R. Jones Sr., 45, of Augusta, Georgia

Sgt. Ronnie L. Shelley Sr., 34, of Valdosta, Georgia

Spc. Jacques E. Brunson, 30, of Americus, Georgia

Staff Sgt. Carl R. Fuller, 44, of Covington, Georgia

Sgt. James O. Kinlow, 35, of Thomson, Georgia

Sgt. John F. Thomas, 33, of Valdosta, Georgia

Sgt. Chad M. Mercer, 25, of Waycross, Georgia

Sgt. Charles C. Gillican III, 35, of Brunswick, Georgia


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