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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 05:42 AM
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Ga. guardsmen honored before Afghan mission

Pfc. Joseph Barringer spends a moment with his wife Rasheedah before he marches in a sendoff parade and ceremony March 3 in Springfield, Ga. Barringer is part of Alpha Battery of the 1st Battalion, 118 Field Artillery Regiment. The regiment is heading to Mississippi for training before deploying to Afghanistan with the Georgia National Guard's 48th Brigade.

Ga. guardsmen honored before Afghan mission
By Russ Bynum - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Mar 3, 2009 14:22:46 EST

SPRINGFIELD, Ga. For Sgt. Jeremy Zeigler, there was a whiff of deja vu as the citizen-soldiers of Alpha Battery marched to the courthouse square Tuesday as their shivering wives, children and parents waved flags on sidewalks chilled by biting wind.

A hand-painted banner over the street read Effingham County Salutes You as a police escort led the Georgia National Guard units parade. Mayors and county commissioners took turns bidding them farewell. A high school marching band played The Star Spangled Banner.

The hometown send-off for the units looming deployment to Afghanistan wasnt the first for Zeigler, or about half the roughly 100 guardsmen in his unit. Not long ago, this small city northeast of Savannah said similar ceremonial goodbyes to them before they left for Iraq.

Its like, oh my God, where did the time go? said Zeigler, a 29-year-old aircraft inspector mobilizing for his second National Guard deployment in four years.

Troops from Alpha Battery of the 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment are among the first units of the Georgia Guards 48th Infantry Brigade to depart for a final round of training in Mississippi before they deploy to Afghanistan in the spring to help train Afghan police and security forces.

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