48th Brigade Trains for First Deployment Since WWII - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/24/05

48th Brigade Trains for First Deployment Since WWII

They're our neighbors, everyday men and women, and they're training to go to war. We spent the day with one Coastal Empire military unit which hasn't gone to battle since World War II.

In a training exercise, they travel down a road filled with uncertainty, a road that will soon be surrounded by the real enemy.

"You'll get more casualties in a ground convoy operation when you're in Iraq or Afghanistan," said trainer Capt. Sergio Gonzales.

To avoid becoming casualties, these troops from the First Division 118th Artillery only have a limited amount of time to learn how to react, so scouts keep a watchful eye to catch any mistakes.

"The things that happen to them in the operation today is what could happen to them when they go into country," said Capt. Gonzales.

These troops only have four days to learn how to detect, avoid and deactivate one of the deadliest killers they'll face. Improvised explosive devices, or what troops call IEDs.

And for this unit, training is somewhat of a challenge, because it is made up of everyday people from the Coastal Empire. They're a unit of the 48th Infantry Brigade that hasn't being called to the battlefield since the Second World War.

Now many say it's finally their turn to answer the call, despite the hidden dangers that are certain to lie ahead. "You hear a lot of soldiers over there getting killed, so the more we learn about them, we train, we train, we train," said Sgt. Gerald Hicks. "You learn about it, to help us find IEDs a lot better, to make it through to make it home."

The 48th Brigade should wrap up its training and head to the national training center by April, before going to Iraq.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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