MOULTRIE -- Georgia's National Guard has begun to come home, and guardsmen from Moultrie are scheduled to be back in the United States next week.
Three Moultrie women responded to an Observer "Question of the Day" that asked if anyone knew National Guardsmen returning from Bosnia. Two of them had relatives in the Valdosta company who are due to arrive at Fort Stewart, Ga., on Tuesday. The third said her husband is in the Forsyth guard unit and is due to leave Bosnia Friday.
No local celebrations are planned for the guardsmen's return, according to Staci Phagans, whose brother, 1st Lt. Brian Lasseter, and fiance, Sgt. Alan Cortez, are both in the Valdosta unit.
Before their National Guard unit was activated, both men worked at Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base.
Their arrval time has still not been released, according to Lasseter's wife, Renee Lasseter.
Phagans said the Family Resource Center, a support group associated with each National Guard company, will decorate Fort Stewart when they go to pick up the guardsmen.
"I've made two banners myself and had two classrooms do a banner," she said.
However, uncertainty in the wake of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., have dampened thoughts of festivities. Phagans said if everything settles down by November, the Family Resource Center will hold a party in conjunction with the unit's Family Day. She didn't have any details about that event yet, though.
Part of each National Guard unit that is coming back now comes home at a different time, according to Margie Tadlock, whose husband, Chief Warrant Officer-4 Robert Tadlock, is a member of the National Guard unit in Forsyth. Some from the Valdosta company are coming back with parts of other companies on Tuesday; others with other parts of those same companies on other days.
"A lot of the officers are staying to the very end," she said. Her husband, who has been in the National Guard 32 years, is one of those. When he isn't on deployment, Robert Tadlock works full-time at Fort Stewart.
Tadlock said her husband should be at Fort Stewart Saturday.
All the guardsmen get a 24-hour leave when they arrive, family members said. In other words, they'll come home from Fort Stewart Tuesday night and have to be back Wednesday night.
After that will come "outprocessing," which includes turning in equipment and filling out paperwork. Phagans said that could take two to five days.
After that, they can come home.
Whether they'll come home to restart a normal life is an open question. National Guard units from other parts of the country have been called to active duty in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. When those units were activated Sept. 14, officials made it clear the returning guardsmen were not being called up at that time; they did, however, leave the door open for a later activation.
-- By Kevin C. Hall
If a friend or member of your family is among National Guardsmen returning from Bosnia, ask them to give us a call. We want to relate their experiences there to the community. Our number is 985-4545.