News: Lifelong friendships
Story by Maj. Will Cox
THOMASVILLE, Ga. - There was no doubt that family and friends were glad to see their Georgia Guardsman at the Thomasville High School’s football field May 31st as the 1230th Transportation Company exited the bus and took the field. The 1230th drove over 220,000 miles during their eleven month deployment to Afghanistan. Combat is known for creating lifelong friendships but the Guardsmen were not the only ones who built enduring relationships.
“I met amazing friends [in the Family Readiness Group] and we [the FRG] gave spouses someone to talk to when they were having a hard time or a bad day,” said Michelle Lopez, 1230th FRG leader. “I love these people and I would not have made it through the deployment without them. They are lifelong friends.”
Spouses are trained prior to deployment that community is important while their Guardsman is deployed. The Family Readiness Group is one of the most important communities spouses have during a deployment.
“Your neighbors are an important source of encouragement, but they just don’t understand what you are going though the same way a spouse of a deployed service member does,” said Lopez.
Family Readiness Groups are designed with a phone tree coordinator whose job it is to contact the deployed spouses periodically throughout the deployment just to check in and share any updates the FRG may have.
“It was great calling the spouses,” said Danisha Dewberry, 1230th FRG phone tree coordinator. “They encouraged me just as much as I encouraged them.”
The ceremony was short and sweet, intended to get families back in each other’s arms. This was highlighted by Capt. Brantley Lockhart’s quick comments on safety before releasing them to their families.
The 1230th Transportation Company is a medium truck Georgia National Guard unit from Thomasville, Ga., staffed with about 115 Guardsmen. The Convoy Escort Platoons exceeded over 220,000 total troop miles during their deployment. The Maintenance Platoon hung over 2,500 parts in support of the 450 job orders, bringing the operational readiness rate up to nearly 100 percent. And the unit’s master drivers provided over 115 coalition partners from six countries drivers training on advance mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles.
Photos of the unit conducting their mission in Afghanistan can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ganatlguard/10995015474/