February 9, 2005
Ft. Stewart-- This isn't the first deployment for many Georgia National Guardsmen, but it will be their most dangerous. The man who oversees the entire Guard in Georgia knows that. That's why he wants to watch over the troops' training and make sure they know we support them.
Major General David Poythress came to Fort Stewart to meet some of his troops face to face, and to get a personal look at their training. "Morale is good," he says. "The training plan looks good. We feel very good about where the Brigade is right now."
As the Adjutant General of Georgia, he knows the importance of National Guard troops. They make up 45% of the boots on the ground in Iraq. "They're everything, every kind of person that there is in America . . . men, women, all colors, all religions. But they represent the heart of America. When you call out the Guard, you call out America's home team."
Poythress says modern military skills are highly perishable, so these troops need several months of intense training to be fully combat ready to handle their mission in Iraq. "The entire mission of the Army is basically stability operations in Iraq, and that's what they'll be doing, maintaining order and stability in the country."
That mission will be difficult and dangerous, much different than the 48th Brigade's last overseas peacekeeping mission. "This is not a cakewalk. This is not a Bosnia. This Brigade went to Bosnia three years ago. That was a tough mission, but compared to what they're going into, that was easy."
And while these soldiers face those dangers in Iraq, General Poythress hopes the people of Georgia complete a mission too. "Whether you agree with the politics or not, you can always support the soldiers and let them know that you value your patriotism and their commitment to duty."
A small price for civilians to pay to show appreciation for citizen soldiers willing to pay the ultimate price in battle.
posted at 5:25PM by firstname.lastname@example.org