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Locals to deploy to Afghanistan with 48th

The Georgia National Guard’s 48th Brigade will deploy again to Afghanistan and soldiers from Pike County are among the more than 2,000 guardsmen who will head for Afghanistan to train the country’s military and police. The 48th – which is based in Macon and has roots to the early 1800s – has deployed four times in 10 years, with three deployments to Afghanistan. Two members of the 48th Brigade will leave behind large shoes to fill – not just with their families – but also with their jobs in public works and public safety. ’We are proud of their service to our country and we ask that the community to continue to pray for their safety and their families,’ said Sheriff Jimmy Thomas. Brandon Rogers served as director of building and grounds for the county for more than four years . He has deployed with the 48th once before in 2013 when he spent 10 months in Afghanistan. He is married to Laura Oxford Rogers and they have two daughters. ’Brandon is sorely missed, he did so much for the county,’ said county clerk JoAnn Wrye. ‘He is incredible and we are very fortunate to have him. He saved the county a lot of money with his talent and skills for building and fixing things without having to contract it out. He is a true asset to Pike County.’ Sgt. Schyler Coffer has worked with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office for the past five years since he started in the law enforcement field in July 2013. It will be his first deployment. He is married to Jodi Coffer and they have three daughters. ’The girls and I are beyond proud of him for serving both his community and his country,’ said his wife Jodi Coffer. ‘He is the ‘˜fun’ parent and he always knows exactly what to say or do to put a smile on our faces. It will be hard not to be able to call him anytime we want or to just watch him with our girls everyday.’ Soldiers from the 48th started training at Fort Stewart as early as mid-October and many are there currently. They will head overseas in January. ’Sgt. Coffer is a very good employee and he certainly is going to be missed here,’ said Sheriff Thomas. ‘We hated to see him go but we ensured him that if he or his family need anything to call us. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and we are wishing them well and waiting on his return. Brandon Rogers has given an awful lot of support to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office in a maintenance capcity in a leadership role and he is equally a great guy. We’ve extended the same offer to help him and his family any way we can.’ The 2,200 members of the Georgia National Guard from the 48th Brigade will train Afghanistan’s police and troops in an area near the Pakistan border. Members of the 48th carried out a similar training mission in the same region eight years ago. The war is the longest in American history and is now in its 17th year. Only around 14,000 troops will return this year compared to the more than 100,000 troops from the United States that were in Afghanistan in 2010. The 48th Brigade is one of the oldest units in the U.S. Army with lineage dating back to 1825.

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