48th Brigade will be reclassified - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

48th Brigade will be reclassified

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January 19, 2006

Albany- Big changes for Georgia National Guard troops. Most members of the 48th Brigade are in Iraq right now, but when they come home they'll leave their Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicles behind. The 48th Brigade is being reclassified.

They went over to Iraq mechanized and when they come back they'll be light infantry. Part of it has to do with the changing war zone and part of it is training availability.

The 48th Brigade left Ft. Stewart for Iraq with these Bradley Tanks. When they return it will be with Humvees and a new classification, light infantry.

"Basically, the Bradley's are going away, we won't have the Bradley's anymore and it means more training for us," said Captain Willie Harris, 48th Brigade.

The unit has been reclassified from mechanized to light infantry, making them more maneuverable and more suited for the way the conflict in Iraq has changed.

"If you look over the war, it's mostly in urban areas and Bradley's don't do well in urban areas," said Harris.

The change will mean more training for troops and more jobs for south Georgia.

"We'll add about maybe 90 to 100 people to this unit," said Harris.

Soldiers will also give up the three and a half hour drive to Ft. Stewart to train. Training can now be done closer to home.

"Ft. Benning, Albany, even in this local area here, we can do scenarios, train downtown, in urban areas so it will be easier for us," said Harris.

With the tour of duty almost complete, the full changeover will take place shortly after they arrive home.

"Some will start coming back in April, probably the torch party and about 80, 90 percent will be back in May," said Harris.

The changeover will also mean new equipment for the 48th, but officers didn't want to divulge what exactly that new equipment entailed for security reasons.

About 4,500 National Guard troops make up the 48th Brigade.

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