I am proud to have the 48th National Guard Infantry Brigade headquartered in my east Macon ward, but even more honored to count several of its members among my friends. I was privileged to watch them in training at Fort Benning under simulated combat conditions, and I can assure you that the current 48th Brigade does not fit into our traditionally accepted definition as “weekend warriors.” Although they all knew that foreign deployment was a distinct possibility when they volunteered for service, I am willing to bet that most did not expect this level of sacrifice, even though they will not complain as they go again in our stead.
This current deployment to Afghanistan will be the 48th’s third in the last decade — they have already served in Bosnia in 2001 and in Iraq in 2005, where they lost 26 members. Both the city of Macon and Bibb County have multiple employees who are members of the National Guard or reserves and quite a few of them will be deployed this time. Each deployment can last as long as 18 months and family members are left behind to manage as best they can. Fortunately, the National Guard provides excellent family support that is frequently used.
As we appropriately honor those who are about to guard our freedoms overseas, I urge you to remember in prayer and actively support those families they leave behind. The troops know that, by law, their jobs will be protected until their return, but the separation from their families is far more wrenching. The greatest gift we can give to the 48th is the assurance that we will honor their sacrifice by ensuring that their families are actively supported and upheld until the troops can be welcomed home in the encircling arms of their family and community.
Macon City Councilman