Some Georgia-based soldiers are rumored to be staying in Iraq longer than planned. These rumors are discounted by the Georgia National Guard.
Members of the 48th Brigade combat team have been in Iraq for almost 11 months.
According to some sources, the 48th was told they must now stay in Baghdad at least another month before returning home, some of them to the Augusta area.
The Georgia National Guard states that the 48th was always scheduled to return home "by the middle of May".
The soldiers got attention in December for finding baby Noor, an Iraqi child with spina bifida.
From the Georgia Department of Defense:
Georgia National Guard officials have confirmed that there are no plans to delay the homecoming of members of the 48th Brigade Combat Team serving in Iraq.
“The plan at this time is to have all of the 4,200 members of the unit home by the middle of May as originally scheduled,” said Major General Terry Nesbitt, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard.
While exact dates of the actual return have not been released, Guard officials have confirmed the first departures from Iraq will begin in mid-April and extend through the middle of May.
News reports in recent days indicated that some units face the possibility of extensions in Iraq. The reports are being discounted by Georgia Guard officials.
“The timing of the return of all of our deployed Soldiers depends on the needs of the commanders in Iraq,” said Nesbitt. “But there is currently no change anticipated involving the 48th Brigade.”
Nesbitt added that because aircraft schedules, the return flights could be adjusted by several days, even at the last minute. But he said this is normal for large groups of Soldiers returning from a war zone.
Following their return to the U.S., the Soldiers are expected to be on duty at Fort Stewart, near Savannah, for about a week to undergo medical reviews and administrative out-processing. They will return to their hometowns to be released from active duty.
More than 3,000 members of Georgia’s 48th Infantry Brigade, augmented by Guardsmen from six other states, deployed to Iraq last May. The 48th Brigade includes units from nearly 30 hometown armories across the state.
For additional information contact Lt. Col. Jim Driscoll or Lt. Col Ken Baldowski at (678) 569-6060.