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Charlie Company guardsmen settling into home life
0406CHARLIE Jeffrey Decker
Sgt. Jeffrey Decker

Charlie Company guardsmen now, for the most part, are settling into old routines and enjoying time with family and friends.

The Gainesville-based unit, which is part of Georgia’s 48th Infantry Brigade, 121st Infantry, arrived late last month in the U.S. after a one-year deployment to Afghanistan.

“Everybody should be back home right now,” said Sgt. Casey Taylor, a spokesman for the company who remained in the U.S. “I’m at Fort Stewart (near Savannah) right now taking care of the stragglers.”

The guardsmen were staying at Fort Stewart, going through debriefing, until Saturday when most were released from deployment.

The best news is everyone arrived home safe.

“We were very, very fortunate with this deployment,” Taylor said.

Sgt. Jeffrey Decker, a Gainesville resident and light wheel mechanic for Charlie Company, made good on a promise that he posted on Facebook.

“About a month ago, I said that when I got here, I’d kiss the ground,” he said.

Charlie Company was charged with responsibility for all Afghan National Security Force development in the Paktika province in southeast Afghanistan.

Sharon Coleman, a Winder-based family readiness support assistant for the 48th Brigade, is celebrating herself, as her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Coleman, was deployed with Charlie Company.

“There are no words that can describe the happiness right now,” she said Monday. “It’s priceless. It’s just good to have him home.”

Her husband is doing well, said Coleman, who lives in Jackson County.

“He’s glad to be able to sleep in and to rest,” she said, with a laugh. “I think sleeping in was the big thing, not setting the alarm clock.”

The Colemans and their children are planning to go to the beach next week.

Operation Patriot’s Call, a group formed several years ago to support the national guard unit’s family at home during deployment, is planning a homecoming celebration for June 5, the unit’s first drill weekend after deployment.

“They said it’s going to take that long for everybody to get their leave in,” said Dave Dellinger, a key organizer with Patriot’s Call. “We wish we could have held it today, when they’re all home ... but you do what you got to do.”

The event could feature high school bands and speakers, among other highlights. Plans also have included a parade from the National Guard Armory to nearby Lakeshore Mall for a ceremony there.

Dellinger said he plans to consult with the company’s commander, Capt. Jeff Moran, about the celebration.

“We were kind of planning without his input. Now that he’s home, we can find out exactly what he wants,” Dellinger said.
Moran, a Forsyth County resident, couldn’t be reached for comment.

In the meantime, Patriot’s Call plans to help the family of Spc. Michael Walker, whose East Hall home was gutted by fire. The Walkers lost nearly all their belongings.

“We can help them get into a rental place, pay their first month’s rent or whatever they need, since we do have money,” Dellinger said. “That’s what the fund is for, so we want to take care of them.”

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