WMAZ remembers those lives lost on 9/11 by speaking with soldiers from Macon's 48th Infantry Brigade of the Georgia Army National Guard who fought in the War on Terror.
Two soldiers, Maj. Nathan Stone and Sgt. Major Scott Payton, both say 9/11 changed the 48th Brigade.
“Once 9/11 hit, we knew we'd eventually be going to war,” said Payton.
He says everything was taken more seriously, and their training meant something.
“I knew then that the face of our world would change significantly,” said Stone. "The Guard still hadn't found its place yet, and the next few years the Guard took an active role in contingency operations.”
Payton says the brigade changed their training to make sure every soldier was ready for deployment, like being able to pack everything up and move locations during a certain amount of time.
In 2005, both Payton and Stone's training was put to the test when they were deployed to Iraq.
Stone explains driving by I.E.D. bombs.
“You’re driving down, and you see it just like that. Say tomorrow, you’re driving home and it’s like that, then you know something moved it,so you just had to look for that detail," said Stone.
Both soldiers say IED bombs were the main weapon they were up against in Iraq.
“My first thought was, ‘oh my god let me see how many people are dead,’” said Stone.
He says he experienced an I.E.D. bomb on his very first patrol in Iraq.
“[If] J.T. wouldn't shot him, it would've killed us,” says Stone.
He says another soldier, J.T., stopped a vehicle I.E.D. just seconds before it would have killed them.
"I checked on him. You know we put him in a Bradley, and we sent him back to the TMC just to make sure he was okay and you know he was fine,” said Stone.
He says J.T. saved all of their lives, but it completely changed their mindset.
“Nobody got hurt and it was a slap in the face to say 'hey these guys aren’t messing around,'” said Stone.
Both Stone and Payton served two more deployments in the War on Terror.
“Going to war is not glamorous,” said Payton.
“It made me grow up,” said Stone.
They both say given the chance, they would do it all again.
“I just don't think there any better brigade,” said Payton.
“I take great pride in what I do, and I’m grateful that I can do it every day,” said Stone.
Below is a list given to us by the 48th Brigade of all the soldiers they lost in the war after 9/11
Mary Grace Shaw, 13WMAZ