The Georgia National Guard unit based out of the Toccoa armory is headed to Afghanistan this summer.
The 876th Engineer Company is scheduled to deploy there in July for a nine-month deployment in the country.
First Sergeant Danny Williamson heads up the unit, which includes soldiers from Georgia, as well as places like South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida.
He said the 876th Engineer Company is a vertical construction unit. That means they go build things the Army needs where the Army needs them.
Williamson said the unit will do that and more during its deployment.
“We are going to help train some of the Afghan National Army engineers,” said Williamson. “We will also be taking some stuff down, turning some equipment in, things like that, wherever we are needed.”
The unit currently is training in Toccoa at the armory on Savannah Street to prepare for its deployment.
Williamson said the unit appreciates the reception it has gotten and all of the support it has received from the community so far.
“Folks that came by the other night brought us a hot meal,” said Williamson. “It was phenomenal. The guys were just really tickled to death about it.”
He also said people will see the unit around town while they are training and encouraged people to say “hi” or even stop by the armory to wish them well.
The National Guard did say that they have heard there is a flyer circulating the community expressing concerns about the ability of the Army National Guard to feed the soldiers at the armory.
Williamson said they do have what they need, including sometimes eating MRE’s, or Meals Ready to Eat.
“They are field rations,” said Williamson. “We normally have those for lunch. We have cooks here that will cook hot meals for us also. Sometimes it appears it is not the most homely environment, but we are trying to get the soldiers prepared to go to a third world country. Sometimes we have to rely on those field rations.”
The unit will remain in Toccoa at the armory through the end of the month, then head to Fort Stewart for more training for a couple of weeks before returning to Toccoa for a few days.
A departure ceremony will be held on May 29 at the Georgia Baptist Convention Center and on May 30, the unit will depart for Fort Bliss before heading to Afghanistan in July.
For more information on how to help the unit or the soldiers, especially while they are deployed, people can contact the unit’s Family Readiness Group is 706-685-7530.