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48th leaves for Fort Stewart Monday
Sendoff for Boro-based battalion begins at 9 a.m.
48th batallion for Web
A sendoff for the Statesboro-based 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion is set for 9 a.m. Monday at the Armory. - photo by FILE
    Entering its final months of preparations for a 10-month mission in Afghanistan, the 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion will hold an official sendoff ceremony Monday at the Statesboro Armory.
    The 48th Battalion is part of the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade. The approximately 300 National Guardsmen who are part of the Statesboro-based 48th are just returning from three weeks of intensive training at Fort Polk in Louisiana.
    Following Monday’s 9 a.m. ceremony, the battalion will go to the Spring Hill Suites hotel at the corner of the Bypass and Highway 67 in Statesboro for family briefings, said Sgt. Cora Wilkerson, with the 48th. Later Monday, the Guardsmen will head out to begin 45 days of training at Fort Stewart in Hinesville.
    "We'll go Monday through Friday with weekends off," Brigade Commander Lt. Col. Tom Bright said back in November.
    The battalion then begins its 12-month deployment with two months of intensive training at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. The 48th will head to Afghanistan for 10 months some time in June 2009 and is expected to return in April or May 2010.
    In Afghanistan, Bright said the 48th will be charged with training soldiers in the Afghan National Army.
    Back in November, Bright described the soldiers under his command as "motivated and anticipatory" about the upcoming mission.
    "As a soldier you have to be a Type A personality," Bright said. "Going to serve our country in a hostile environment is what we've been trained to do. We'll be ready."
    Sgt. Wilkerson said the public is invited to Monday’s 9 a.m. ceremony at the Armory on Highway 301 North, located just north of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office.
    “I’m sure the Guardsmen would appreciate anyone who comes out Monday,” Wilkerson said. “Everyone is welcome to attend.”
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