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NEWS | June 11, 2024

Georgia 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Conducts Annual Training

By Maj. Charles Emmons, Georgia National Guard

FORT STEWART, Ga. - For the Soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the early June movement to Fort Stewart for annual training was a different experience. 

In recent years, thousands of “Volunteer” brigade personnel moved vehicles and equipment into the field to sleep in tents and conduct weeks of training scenarios and multi-purpose ranges. But this season, only a small percentage camped out for a week in the forest, while the rest remained in barracks on base.

This is because approximately 1,800 personnel of the Macon-based brigade are deployed around the world, including in Kosovo and the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, leaving close to 1,000 of the remaining Soldiers to attend 18 days of annual training.

For the rear detachment brigade commander, Col. Luke W. Gaspard, this is an opportunity to return to the basics. While speaking to one of the battalions, he outlined his priorities for the Soldiers who were new to the brigade or didn’t deploy.

Gaspard emphasized that the remaining Soldiers needed to support the forward-deployed units and remain ready if they had to mobilize. He said they needed to train on individual tasks and attend necessary schools.

“Whatever your training requirements are, this is the time to focus on yourself,” said Gaspard. “Get right as a Soldier so that way, when the forward returns, you’re not leaving to go to school when it’s time to be a team leader, a squad leader, or platoon sergeant.”

While many Soldiers anticipate their opportunity to move into their next leadership role, many Soldiers attending annual training have already been exposed to increased responsibility.

Spc. Ryan Higley, a medic with Headquarters Company, 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion, attended his third year of annual training with the brigade.

“This year, we are dealing with a lot of understaffing as far as the medical section goes,” Higley said. “They call me the senior specialist, and I’ve been passing on the stuff I’ve learned to junior medics.“

In the dining facility, Sgt. 1st Class Ronnie Jackson, a senior culinary specialist from the 148th Brigade Support Battalion, empowered young leaders to supervise an entire kitchen of junior cooks.

“That’s my job; I train cooks,” said Jackson. “By the time they leave here, they should be ready to be a noncommissioned officer.”

Because of the demand for cooks in other units, Jackson trains a kitchen limited to the rank of specialists and below. Jackson assigned Spc. Ashanti Dudley, a prison employee, to oversee the new Soldiers during annual training.

“I have to make sure everybody’s here on time, they’re in the right uniform and prepping the food on time,” said Dudley. “I’ve also gotta make sure they do drivers’ training and their weapons qualifications, too.”

Ranges and readiness were the main focus of annual training in Fort Stewart, with Soldiers processing through medical stations, administrative updates, and other services to create and maintain deployable Soldiers.

“Being in the reserve component, administrative and medical readiness is probably one of the most important things we can do,” said Capt. Andrew Silva, a Georgia Army National Guard personnel officer.



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