48th Brigade prepares for deployment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

48th Brigade prepares for deployment

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Sergeant Willie Bradford and his wife Jarda Sergeant Willie Bradford and his wife Jarda

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

January 5, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Training for Georgia's 48th Brigade is underway as they prepare for their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

The first unit to deploy left Monday for Fort McClellan, Alabama.

The Foxtrot Company of the 148th Forward Support Command here in Albany will be among those soldiers, but their training has been pushed back until the first of February.

 Sergeant Willie Bradford and his wife Jarda are in the same position as three thousand other Georgia Citizen Soldiers, trying to spend as much time together as possible as Bradford's deployment to Afghanistan inches closer.

 "It's nerve racking," said Bradford. "For the simple fact, brand new year and here we're starting off the year with getting ready to deploy and actually being gone until the next year."

In less than a month, the Foxtrot Company will begin the task force organization that will take soldiers to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana, to Ft. Stewart, and Ft. Gordon before the deployment in early spring.

Bradford expects his deployment to Iraq and his work as an Albany Police officer to aid in this deployment.

"A great deal, because of the training that we did with as far as here in the U. S. as far as the United States and as far as Albany, we can use those tactics in the foreign country to show them as far as we do it here in the United States," he says.

While soldiers expect this deployment to be a lot like Iraq, it will have its own challenges including a lack of internet access, making it more difficult for families to keep in touch.

"I don't even know what the time frame is as far as with mail as far as how long it will take to actually make it to the United States and in that time frame there's a lot going on while mail is passing in the air and all of that.

While wife Jarda Bradford understands the dangers better than others, being a police officer herself, she says leading up to Bradford's absence she's building a support system.

"I also have support from my church members, and family members, and also co-workers," she said.

Soldiers are bracing for what's to come and realize their mission that's expected to have them transporting supplies could likely change.

By the first of February, Guard Members deploying will move up to full-time status.

The Foxtrot Company's 127 soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan by early spring.

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