The 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team unit patch, or Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, uses a light blue background to reflect its status as an Infantry unit. Formed in Macon, Georgia, the colors of the state flag—blue, scarlet, and white—are incorporated into the design with yellow representing armor and scarlet standing for artillery, components that increase the Brigade’s total firepower. The lightning bolt in the middle reflects the mobility and speed of the modern Army Brigade Combat Team.

In the runup to the Gulf War, it was announced that the 48th Infantry Brigade would be mobilized and attached to its Regular Army “roundout” division—a division consisting of two rather than three brigades, but ready to be augmented by its National Guard counterpart. Ordered into Federal service in November 1990, the 48th was sent to California to train for the upcoming offensive ground combat that would be designated Operation Desert Storm. But instead of boarding planes to Saudi Arabia, the unit wound up returning to Georgia in March 1991.

Debate still rages to this day whether the 48th was ready for combat in those early months of 1991, but there is no denying that it seemed that the odds were stacked against them. For instance, the unit was to serve as the roundout brigade for the 24th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized)—but while the 24th was deployed to Saudi Arabia in August, the 48th wasn’t even called into service until November. If it had been, it would have had an additional three months to train—training that veteran members of the unit say could have been conducted in Saudi Arabia rather than California.

The kerfuffle over the entire affair led the Army to ditch the roundout system in 1996, replacing it with an Enhanced Brigade system to ensure Guard units could fully mobilize and deploy in a period of 90 to 120 days. And in 2016, the Army selected the 48th IBCT for its Associated Units program, pairing it with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division to improve the readiness status of both units.

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