The soldiers of Alpha Battery are home now — but they won’t be home for long.
A Battery of the 118th Field Artillery Battalion is finishing a rotation at Fort Polk, La.’s Joint Readiness Training Center, preparing for its eventual year-long deployment to Afghanistan. Approximately 2,500 soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Brigade are expected to deploy in the coming months, said Lt. Col. Ken Baldowski, public affairs officer for the Georgia National Guard.
“It’s a train-up in which soldiers refresh their routine soldier skills and begin to work in the skills they will be involved in in Afghanistan,” Baldowski said of the JRTC deployment.
The training at Fort Polk is expected to be finished in the next several days and soldiers will return to their home stations.
“They will not immediately deploy,” Baldowski said. “But over the next three months, there will be several phases.”
Soldiers from the 48th who are deploying are expected to be in Afghanistan by early to mid summer. They will be in Afghanistan for a 12-month rotation.
“They’re going over there as part of the current operation, Operation Phoenix,” Baldowski said. “They are one of a number of National Guard and Army units attached to this coalition operation.”
Members of the 48th, including A/118th Field Artillery soldiers, served a rotation in Iraq from 2005-06 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. About 3,200 48th Brigade soldiers were part of the OIF rotation.
The 48th also had several hundred soldiers take part in a rotation to Bosnia in 2001.
The brigade — which includes A Battery — has close to 4,500 soldiers in its ranks.