DAHLONEGA - North Georgia College & State University’s students who were deployed for active duty with the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Brigade and spent a year in Iraq were honored at an Aug. 28 Welcome Home Ceremony on campus.
More than 60 students served in Iraq and returned home in May. A majority re-enrolled in classes at NGCSU, which started Aug. 23. More than 40 of the soldiers stood in formation together on the university drill field Monday afternoon during the military parade that took place in their honor.
“To our returning veterans, we thank you for upholding the grand tradition of service to the nation that has characterized North Georgia for more than 130 years,” said NGCSU President David Potter. “We are delighted you have come back home to the United States and to your college. We all hope to learn from your experience. We know our Corps of Cadets will be enriched by your knowledge and your service.”
Gov. Sonny Perdue, Dahlonega Mayor Gary McCullough and Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver, the 48th Brigade commander, were speakers at the event.
“The soldiers I had serving with me from North Georgia College, I never had to hesitate when they made their decisions,” said Brig. Gen. Rodeheaver, who commanded more than 4,000 troops in Iraq. “I knew [the decisions] were tactically proficient and they were made with dignity and respect for the Iraqi people whom we were working with.”
Mayor McCullough declared Aug. 28, 2006, as “48th Brigade Day” in Dahlonega and Lumpkin County.
North Georgia has 675 military students in its Corps of Cadets, which is part of a total student body of 4,800 undergraduate and graduate students. An estimated 40 percent of the cadets are military reservists and many are combat veterans, from the recently returned 48th Brigade soldiers to the top cadet leaders in the corps.