In December 2004, the 48th (Lightning) Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard, mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom III. This heavy brigade was composed of 4,600 soldiers, which included 2,600 Georgians and additional Army National Guard soldiers from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. The 48th (Lightning) Brigade, the largest brigade to deploy in Operation Iraqi Freedom to date, was tasked with creating Military Transition Teams (MiTT) to advise and train the Iraqi Army. The 48th Brigade operated as six MiTTs with their Iraqi Army counterparts, within the districts of Mahmudiya, Lutifiyah, and Yusufiyah.
Located 20 miles south of Baghdad, the district of Mahmudiya is the sectarian fault line of a geographic area composed of approximately 60 percent Shi’a and 40 percent Sunni Muslims. Largely destroyed during heavy sectarian fighting, the marketplace in Mahmudiya (nicknamed the “Martyrs’ Market”) was rebuilt as a joint US and Iraqi effort to help stabilized relations between the two religious groups.
The 48th Brigade operated six MiTTs within the 6th Iraqi Army. MiTT #1 consisted of 15-20 volunteer soldiers drawn from units within the 48th Brigade. Their mission was to help make the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division technically and tactically proficient in conducting independent counterinsurgency operations. The 48th Brigade conducted increased US-Iraqi joint operations during early October to promote security for the upcoming Iraqi constitution referendum vote. Their efforts allowed Iraqi voters to ratify the proposed Iraqi constitution on October 15, 2005; public elections were held two months later with no significant insurgent attacks.
In June 2006, the 48th Brigade returned to Georgia, where it remains an integral part of the nation’s line of defense.
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