Families usually make plans to spend time together during the holiday season, while thousands of other families are getting ready to say goodbye. The 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains in Fort Stewart for several months to prepare themselves mentally and physically to go overseas. Some soldiers say it doesn't get any easier, but that the experience makes them stronger.
Every shot soldiers take on the gun range means a step closer to their goal of discipline, precision, and certification. 19-year-old Matthew Evans says this is his first deployment and he feels lucky to do it.
"Where I come from is a very hard neighborhood. Some people don't make it," said Evans.
The 48th Infantry Brigade goes through live fire training, command post exercise training, and field training exercises. After a landing in Taylor's Creek drop zone, Captain Daniel Larson from Macon says his brigade family makes the hard times bearable.
"The experiences we have and the different things that we go through and experience together are unlike anything else you'll ever experience in this world," said Larson.
They'll spend 9 to 10 months in Afghanistan. Larson says going into his third deployment, he knows the soldiers will come out of it more well-rounded.
"Realistically, it's given us some more sense of reality with the world we live in and it grounds us a lot more as human beings," said Larson.
Some of the soldiers say despite the sacrifices they've made to get to this point, serving their country was the ultimate calling. The 48th IBCT has scheduled a departure ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21 at Fort Stewart.