Monroe County will have a chance to honor its local battalion of the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Brigade on April 23, shortly before many soldiers head to Afghanistan.
The event is planned for 11 a.m. at the courthouse square in downtown Forsyth. The 148th battalion, which is based in Forsyth and is part of the 48th Brigade, will be saluted.
“We call them the ‘Wish Masters,’’’ said Sgt. Tracy Smith, a spokeswoman for the 48th. “Essentially they are our supply element. And they also are our medical element.”
Forsyth Mayor Tye Howard said about 225 soldiers are expected at last count.
“It’s a big deal,” he said.
The ceremony will follow by a day a parade planned for the brigade in downtown Macon. Milledgeville held a parade last month.
Said Howard: “I don’t know so much that I’d call this a parade, I’d call it an event.”
“Forsyth was very supportive before,” Howard said of the 48th’s previous deployment, to Iraq.
These events, Smith said, don’t just show support for Georgia’s National Guard soldiers, they show support for their families as well.
Smith noted that Georgians can check a box on their state income tax returns, due April 15, to donate to the Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation. The organization, which helps military families while soldiers are away, can be reached online at www.georgiaguardfamily.org or by calling (678) 569-5704. “Families are just as important if not more so,” Smith said.
The Georgia National Guard’s 48th Brigade has about 4,500 members. About half of them will deploy in the coming months to Afghanistan.