Friday, July 29, 2005

48th BCT-SFC Ted Wooten's kids(Tia and Rashaad)


SPC Mendez's father SFC(rt) Francisco Ortiz, his mother Juana and his little sister SSGT Veronica Ortiz (Location: Langley AFB, Va.)

My big brother is SPC PEDRO C MENDEZ currently at FOB MICHAEL - AL

He is greatly missed! Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico and raised partly in
Augusta, Georgia. This Georgi-rican joined the GA Army National Guard when
he was 32 years old (2 years ago) and he told us it was because he
needed to make sure that we [the U.S.] do things right "over there".

SPC Mendez receiving a carepackage from a young supporter (Location: Winder, GA)

He's always been a take charge kind of guy! I believe that he felt
compelled to do "something" as the nightly news reported on the War on
Terror was taking its toll on our active military resources. This is his
"something" and we are so proud of him. He joins a long line of military
family from all branches. From our grandfathers and theirs, to our young
cousins Marisol (US Marine Corps.), "Nacho" (PR Army National Guard,
Alexis (US Marine Corps.) and our little sister, SSGT Veronica N Ortiz
of US Airforce.

Sgt Gibson's Kids

Have a great day! Hope to see everyone soon. Cheryl Gibson

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Send us your family photos for your soldiers to see!

Help your troops have a reminder of home. Send us images from the homefront that can touch the battelfields of Iraq. If you are savvy enough, send us sound files.

Click here to upload them to us today!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Army identified 48th deaths

Spc. Jacques "Gus" Brunson is shown as he prepares to depart for Iraq in this May 2005 photo taken at Fort Stewart, Ga., and released on Tuesday, July 26, 2005, by his family. Brunson was among four members of the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade who were killed by a roadside bomb while patrolling south of Baghdad on Sunday evening, July 24, 2005. (AP Photo/Brunson Family)

Army National Guard

The Department of the Army has identified four Georgia National Guardsmen killed in action in Iraqi on Sunday.

They are identified as:

  • Staff Sgt. Carl Ray Fuller, 44, Covington
  • Sgt. James Ondra Kinlow, 35, Thomson
  • Sgt. John Frank Thomas, 33, Valdosta
  • Spc. Jacques Earl Brunson, 30, Americus

    The four soldiers were members of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Brigade Combat Team. They were killed when their Humvee was struck by a road bomb while on patrol near Baghdad, Iraq.

    "These Soldiers died doing what they believed in. They died in pursuit of freedom for Iraqi citizens, and to protect Americans from terrorism," said Maj. Gen. David B. Poythress, Georgia's Adjutant General. "This is a tragic time for all of us, but we will come together as a National Guard family to provide whatever support we can for the families and loved ones of these brave heroes."

    More than 3,000 members of the 48th Brigade Combat Team were deployed to Iraq in May, as part of the largest mobilization of Georgia National Guard Soldiers into a combat zone since World War II.
  • Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Alan & Jennifer Rhodes

    Alan and Jennifer Rhodes are serving with the 48th at Camp Stryker. They met at Georgia Military College but had to leave the college in order to serve. They were married November 27, 2004. Alan was called to active duty in early December, 2004 and Jennifer was called up early January, 2005. They had only been back from their honeymoon for four days when Alan was called up. Jennifer has a brother, Jake and proud parents, Gary and Carol Harrell from Gray, Georgia. Alan has one brother, Michael, and proud parents Wayne and Debbie Rhodes from Savannah, Georgia. Iraq isn't the best place in the world to honeymoon but they are thankful they are in the same camp.

    Sgt Lars Kynan Williams

    I hope he comes back as close as he can to the way
    he left us....

    Sgt Lars Kynan Williams
    HHC 48th BCT (PSD)


    Melanie Williams

    Salman Kadhim


    I am trying to get in touch with some people in the 48th Brigade who are depolyed to Iraq and stationed in Camp Striker. If you can help please forward this email to them so that they can contact me.

    Best Regards,
    Salman Kadhim
    International Marketing Coordinator
    Tel: (+964) 07901 392197
    Office: (+964) 07901 868273

    Bomb kills 4 Guard soldiers

    Attack is ‘most tragic’ blow to hit 48th Brigade in Iraq

    By Gray Beverley, Rome News-Tribune Correspondent

    CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – Four soldiers were killed Sunday by a bomb buried in an Iraqi road, the deadliest attack on the 48th Brigade Combat Team since its mobilization.

    The names and units of the soldiers are being withheld while the affected families are notified and to give those families time to grieve without exposure to the media, according to Army policy.

    Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver of Forsyth, commander of the 48th, said the attack was “by far the most tragic” event suffered by the brigade since arriving in Iraq in late May.

    “Any time you lose anybody, it’s absolutely tragic,” Rodeheaver said Monday. “To lose more than one person is really devastating.”

    At about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, brigade infantry units were conducting a regular patrol when a bomb exploded beneath a Humvee truck in the convoy.

    The soldiers were taken to 86th Combat Support Hospital, where they were pronounced dead, said brigade spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Selena Owens.

    “The brigade is saddened by this tragedy,” Owens said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the soldiers’ families.”

    Rodeheaver said the attack is under investigation, but a preliminary report suggests that between 500 and 600 pounds of explosives were used in the attack, enough to topple a 12-story building.

    The crater in the middle of Route Aeros was about 12 feet in diameter and 6 to 8 feet at its deepest point.

    A second bomb exploded as a team of investigators was working at the site later Sunday. One soldier not affiliated with the brigade was injured in that blast and was being treated Monday at the Baghdad military hospital.

    During Rodeheaver’s visit to the site Monday, coalition soldiers detonated another bomb that had been found nearby. The general said the size and placement of the explosives represent a new enemy tactic to which his soldiers will have to adjust.

    “They hit a bigger bomb than we’re used to being out here,” he said. “It makes you understand that every day when you roll out, you may not roll back.”

    The 48th brigade is responsible for the security of an area southwest of the Iraqi capital, and infantry units handle much of the necessary patrolling. Route Aeros is a commonly traveled east-west thoroughfare south of Camp Striker, where much of the brigade is stationed.

    The roadway also is known by soldiers as “IED Alley,” because so many improvised explosive devices have been detonated along it.

    Since arriving in Iraq, 61 members of the brigade have been wounded in action, and Rodeheaver said most of the injuries were caused by IEDs.

    With this attack, five Georgia National Guard soldiers in the 48th have died since arriving here.

    Last month, infantry soldier Sgt. Chad Mercer of Waycross was killed after his Bradley fighting vehicle rolled while on patrol nearby.

    Spc. Bruce Koshkin of Buford said when he learned of Sunday’s deaths, he thought of the families that were going through their normal lives back home and about to get hit by the news. He said it made him think of his own family.

    “I called my wife right after I got back here,” he said.

    Sgt. Jack Colburn of Carrollton said he also immediately thought of those back home.

    “It’s heartbreaking,” Colburn said. “I think about the families first of all. Things go through your mind that you worry about your family, because I have a wife and two kids at home.”

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    SPC Richard Baker -- Woodstock, Ga.

    Here are a few pictures of my son, SPC Richard Baker. These were taken just before deployment in May with his son Isaiah.

    Richard lives in Woodstock, GA and is currently stationed at Camp Striker, near Baghdad in ACO 2/121 48th IN BCT.

    These were taken in Iraq taken in the last couple of weeks.

    Richard and his buddy Gilley

    Richard and Gilley at the Camp Liberty PX.

    His Mom and I offer our prayers for him and all of our soldiers in harm's way.
    --Mike & Ann Baker

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    SSG Walter Kegley Jr.

    Captain Brian Lassetter and SSG Walter Kegley Jr. of Bravo Company 2-121 48th BCT

    SSG Chad Mercer (KIA) and SSG Walter Kegley Jr. of Bravo Company 2-121, 48th BCT. Chad will be forever loved and missed by his Bravo Buddies.

    Headquarters Platoon of Bravo Company 2-121 48th BCT

    These pictures were taken at Ft. Stewart on May 14, 2005.
    -Melissa Kegley

    Sgt. Robert E. Graham -- Temple, GA

    Sgt Robert E. Graham lives in Temple, Ga. He is serving with the 48th Brigade/ 108th Armor based in Calhoun.

    Sgt. Graham is a Tank Commander stationed in Mahmudiyah, Iraq at FOB St. Michael. He is greatly missed by his wife and five children.
    -Dorothea Graham

    Rome teacher tackles new lessons in Iraq

    By Andy Johns, Rome News-Tribune Staff Writer

    Sgt. Robb Kidwill switches from instructing teenagers to helping train a foreign army.

    The next time you are stranded with car trouble, be thankful you are not stranded in Baghdad.

    Sgt. Robb Kidwill of Rome spent New Year’s on a convoy escort mission through Baghdad during which his Humvee’s transmission went out.

    Kidwill and the crew were then towed through the city by a maintenance truck, with no way to maneuver. His Humvee was last in the convoy, “making us a prime two-for-one target for a car bomb,” he said.

    Fortunately, Kidwill made it through.

    That was not a normal workday for the Rome High School economics teacher who flunked out of chef school.

    Kidwill’s time at Forward Operation Base Cobra with the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 278th Regimental Combat Team has been anything but normal.

    Instead of teaching ninth-graders about supply and demand in an air-conditioned classroom, Kidwill now teaches Iraqi soldiers troop leadership procedures
    Sgt. Robb Kidwill — seen here riding with his unit in Iraq — is a teacher at Rome High School. Contributed photo
    in a tent on sandbag benches.

    “We have slowly transitioned from a point where we led to a point where we assisted, and now we are in a mentoring role in many ways,” Kidwill said in an e-mail interview.

    He said the Iraqi troops have made good progress but still have much to learn. “They handle things on a daily basis that they would have been running to us to handle six months ago,” he said.

    The teaching conditions leave much to be desired. “I hate sand with a passion,” he said. “I am tired of breathing it and being covered in it.”

    Kidwill was recently transferred to teaching the troops. Before that, he was assigned to such tasks as patrols, humanitarian missions and base security.

    Trained as an artillery crewmember, he said life in Iraq is always unpredictable.

    “We live off of a dry-erase board that tells us when the mission is, who you are working with and what your role will be,” he said.

    It is the patrolling that Kidwill said is some of the most important work. “You go patrol to be seen,” he said. “You want people to know you are present. That is done so any would-be bad guys know we are there and so the good people feel safe.”

    Kidwill said roadside bombs often are difficult to spot, and on a few occasions he and his unit have learned bombs went off on other units where they had just been traveling.

    “It leaves you wondering why you were able to bypass it,” he said.

    On those patrols, Kidwill has seen many towns and types of people.

    “We have towns where everyone waves at us and the kids treat us like superstars,” he said. “We also have areas where people will turn their backs when they see you coming and the kids will not even take candy or pencils from you.”

    “Democracy is not a clean business to get into,” he said.

    At times, Kidwill says, he has even played soccer with local children.

    The Iraqi people have become one of Kidwill’s primary focuses.

    When he arrived in Iraq in December, Kidwill and others from his crew visited local schools to assess their needs. He then talked to history teacher Phillip Wood of Rome High School, who coordinated an effort among the school’s teachers. Kidwill said he received more supplies than he ever imagined.

    Wood said he has shipped six boxes of supplies to Kidwill. Shipping costs alone have been almost $400, he added.

    “As educators it was a situation where we’ve got it really good over here,” Wood said. “They don’t have the things we have the luxury of having.”

    Even while helping children, all Kidwill has to do is listen to radios to remind him how violent the area still is.

    “There is a very sickening feeling that can overwhelm you when you hear over the radio that someone a few miles ahead of you is getting shot at,” Kidwill said. “My experience has been that having the time to think about things only makes it worse.”

    When he has time to think, Kidwill said, he spends it reading, watching DVDs or playing video games. He and his fellow soldiers particularly enjoy sports video games.

    “I think we have run ‘Tiger Woods Golf’ and ‘Madden Football’ into the ground,” he said.

    As far as movies go, he said, his tastes have changed. “I have not watched any war movies in a while,” he said. “After I got my orders last summer I threw ‘Black Hawk Down’ in while I was packing and quickly took it out.”

    He said that while conditions are generally good at his base, their amenities pale in comparison to those at larger bases. Troops at the much larger Anaconda Base can use the Olympic-size pool, Burger King and a movie theater, he said.

    “I do not think the average soldier has had a standard of living this high in previous wars,” he said.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    SPC Jeffery Baker from Cedartown

    This is SPC Jeffery Baker from Cedartown. He is with the 48th Brigade stationed in Mahmudiyah, Iraq at FOB St. Michael. He is gunner with the 108th Armor based in Calhoun.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    48th Infantry Brigade: Gallery 6


    By Gray Beverley


    Friday, July 08, 2005

    48th Infantry Brigade: Gallery 5

    48th Infantry Brigade: Gallery 5



    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Chris Goshorn and friends

    Chris with friends (Buckner, Wyatt and

    Tank Unit with 48th Bigade

    Tank Unit

    McCloud is perched atop an M-1 Tank while Chris Goshorn drives and Gacek is in front.