MARIETTA, Ga. - After months of training and planning by key leaders and staff, the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is completing readiness requirements before deploying in early 2024.
The Macon-based IBCT will mobilize more than 1,000 Soldiers from units across Georgia. But this deployment is distinct from the brigade’s previous three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Normally, we’ve got all of our Soldiers going to one place,” Col. Jason Baker, 48th IBCT commander, said on the Georgia Guard Fencepost podcast. “But this time, it’s significantly different. We’ve got multiple locations … so we’re going to be decentralized.”
The brigade will support commands in Europe, the United States and regions within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“What is key for the success of the brigade is having the right leadership in those positions,” said Baker. “Everybody is going to be under different chains of command, but they’re going to carry with them the swag of the brigade, how we operate, how we act, and just be the example everybody looks at us to be.”
With a limited number of unit training assemblies remaining before Soldiers from the “Volunteer” brigade mobilize to their respective missions, staff planners and commanders have scheduled medical evaluations, equipment issue dates, and region-specific training.
Spc. Callen Lomas, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) specialist from the Statesboro-based 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion, is deploying for the first time.
“I think it’s going to give me a lot of good opportunities,” said Lomas, a college student in Canton. “I want to progress my career in terms of schools and active guard reserve in the future. I think making connections and getting that full-time experience will be really nice.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Kinney, the brigade’s senior enlisted leader and fellow podcast guest, discussed expectation management for families and employers as Soldiers prepare to mobilize after years of training weekends and summers spent in the field.
“Communication is key,” said Kinney. “You’ve got to communicate with your significant others, your civilian employers, with your kids and your family support group (who can assist) your immediate family. Those who communicate effectively are typically the ones who have an easier time navigating through the 48th IBCT and the Georgia National Guard because we are at the tip of the spear for any operation”.
Soldiers of the 48th IBCT have trained for their federal mission and responded to domestic activities since their return from the brigade’s 2019 deployment to Afghanistan. They’ve been front and center for pandemic response, civil disturbance support, and large-scale training exercises, including a brigade Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise at Fort Stewart in 2022 and a recent battalion rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Johnson, Louisiana.
In early 2024, the first elements of the brigade will mobilize and begin their deployments.
“We’re going to give our best effort, 100%, and get all that exercise and experience so that we can bring it back home so we can be even better for the next time our state and nation calls upon us,” said Baker.