Calling Up Georgia Soldiers

A shortage of soldiers serving our country overseas has caused the Army to recall over 5,000 troops to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 318 soldiers from the Peach State.

Most of the troops in our area have already been deployed in early 2003, but their families say they can sympathize with the families of these soldiers that will soon be heading out.

February 6, 2003 was a tough day for the families of the 1148th Transportation Company in Thomasville. When the troops left for the Middle East, their families were left to wonder and worry.

Monica Lashley says, "I know God's got my back. I believe we're going to go over there together and we're going to come back together."

Now, the families of more than 300 more Georgia soldiers will be left behind. A soldier shortage caused the Army to call these men and women back to serve in Afghanistan or Iraq, just as the 1148th was a year-and-a-half ago.

A commander here says although his troops won't be affected by this most recent recall to duty, they have seen the effects of a soldier shortage overseas. The 1148th has already had their homecoming delayed several times.

The recalled soldiers are members of the Individual Readiness Reserve. A pool of ex-soldiers who left the military before fulfilling their eight-year service obligation.

Family members of deployed soldiers say no matter what company their loved ones serve, saying goodbye isn't easy.

Army officials say recalled soldiers should begin receiving letters July 6, but some may not receive their call until as late as December. A commander at the 1148th Transportation Company says they are scheduled to come home on July 21. Their loved ones have their fingers crossed.