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NEWS | April 15, 2024

New Georgia Army Guard Soldiers say ‘Send Me’ Overseas

By Maj. Charles Emmons, Georgia National Guard

FORT STEWART, Ga. - On April 13, 194 new Soldiers joined the Georgia Army National Guard during a battle handoff ceremony that followed basic and military occupational specialty training. 

Most will now report to one of the Georgia ARNG’s five brigades and prepare for unit assemblies and annual training. For a select few 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team “Volunteers,” an overseas deployment is in their immediate future.

Following the official ceremony, the 74 Soldiers of the 48th IBCT were offered a life-changing opportunity — the choice to volunteer and deploy to support units mobilized overseas in Kosovo and the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. More than 20 Soldiers raised their hands and demonstrated the brigade motto: “Send Me.”

“There is no better place to be a professional Soldier than on a deployment,” Col. Luke Gaspard, the rear detachment commander of the 48th IBCT, told the new Soldiers. “You will learn more about yourself and you will start to earn and build those relationships that you will carry for the rest of your lifetime.”

For Pfc. Cassandra Vazquez, a recent high school graduate and combat medic, a deployment is the first step in a career journey that includes higher education and a future role as a commissioned officer and nurse.

“I joined the Georgia Army National Guard for college benefits and the experience,” said Vazquez. “I want to do ROTC, so I just wanted the background knowledge to help me out as an officer.”

Vazquez, who was awarded an Army Achievement Medal during the ceremony, will defer college for now, gaining extra income and experience while deployed overseas as a full-time medic assigned to the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment.

The Soldiers who volunteered at the ceremony will work quickly with their units to meet their readiness goals. More importantly, they will prepare their families for the challenges that come with an overseas deployment.

The Soldiers of the 48th IBCT began mobilizing for overseas service in December, with departure ceremonies for the Savannah-based 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment; 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment of Calhoun; and Macon-based brigade headquarters.



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