The 48th IBCT is comprised of approximately 3,000 Georgians and is currently deployed in Afghanistan with the mission of training and mentoring the Afghan Army and Police. The brigade, which is part of the Georgia National Guard, is headquartered out of Macon, with subordinate battalions based in Calhoun, Forsyth, Griffin, Savannah, Statesboro and Winder. Additional company level units are from smaller towns throughout the state.
"When I heard that the 48th was from throughout the state of Georgia, I was excited about the opportunity," head coach Mark Richt said. "Hopefully, this is a sign of our appreciation for all the men and women who are serving and for their families as well. We owe them all the support we can give."
Richt was originally contacted this summer via email by LTC John Gentry, a member of the 48th who also serves as the Director of Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department.
"To date we have lost seven soldiers in the line of duty," Gentry wrote. "A thought that I had to honor those soldiers and families whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving the 48th IBCT, the state of Georgia and the USA is this: I wanted to know if Coach Richt and the university would consider sewing on the 48th IBCT patch on No. 48 during this football season?"
The 48th IBCT soldiers who have been killed in action are: 1st Sergeant John D. Blair; Major Kevin M. Jenerette; Sergeant First Class John C. Beale; Sergeant Chavers H. Brock; Sergeant Issac L. Johnson, Jr.; Sergeant Jeffery W. Jordon; and Sergeant Raymundo P. Morales.
The Georgia staff then made the decision to place a sticker on the helmet of every Georgia player for a particular game.
Last summer, Richt was among a group of five college football coaches who toured and visited with U.S. troups in Germany and the Middle East.
"After that trip, I certainly have a greater appreciation for their sacrifice," Richt said. "To be there and see them face-to-face was definitely an eye-opening experience."