Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sgt. 1st Class John Beale Honored by Cedartown-Based Troop A, 108th Cavalry

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard.


Crystal Beale is joined by Command Sgt. Major John Ballenger and Lt. Col. Christopher Powell, command team of the 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry in
dedicating a training field at the Cedartown, Ga. Armory in memory of Sgt. 1st Class John Beale who was killed in action in Afghanistan June 4, 2009.
Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the Cedartown-based Troop A, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry stood at attention for the dedication of a training field in honor of Sergeant 1st Class John C. Beale who was killed in Afghanistan June 4, 2009. The dedication was attended by family, friends, fellow Soldiers and Veterans who served with Sgt. 1st Class Beale.

Sergeant John Beale in 2005 with Troop E, 108th Cavalry in Griffin, Ga. preparing to mobilize a relief convoy to Mississippi following
Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Photo by Spc. William Carraway

“Sgt. 1st Class Beale embodied the attributes of the United States Army Noncommissioned Officer’s Creed,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Powell, commander of the 1-108th Cavalry. “His professionalism, leadership, selflessness, courage, technical and tactical competence as a 19D Cavalry Scout and love for Soldiers was unmatched. No commander could ask for a better NCO than him.”

Powell observed that Beale balanced his service as a Soldier with his role as a husband to wife Crystal and father to children Christopher and Callie who attended the ceremony.

“As we honor Sgt. 1st Class Beale’s service and sacrifice, we also honor yours,” said Powell to Beale’s family.

Soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard's Troop A, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment stand in formation during a ceremony honoring
Sgt. 1st Class John Beale at the unit's Cedartown Armory Oct 4, 2020. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Major General Randall Simmons, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard spoke of Beale’s service and legacy. Simmons commanded the 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

“Those of us who knew Sgt 1st Class Beale hold him in a special place in our hearts,” said Simmons. “But this day is not about sad reflection, it is about a celebration of the courage and sacrifice and service of this hero.”

Simmons called Beale a consummate professional noting how approachable and welcoming he was to all Soldiers and how he was absolutely dedicated to the Soldier’s craft.

Sgt. 1st Class John Beale in 2009.
Ga. National Guard Archives.
“John was a warrior.  He served with distinction. He was a team builder who was widely respected and loved.”  Said Simmons.  “For those Soldiers going forward who will train on this field, when you feel tired, when you feel like you can give no more, if you need to draw on a source of motivation, think of the sacrifice of Sgt. 1st Class John Beale and the other fallen Rough Riders who paid the ultimate price so we could be here to move forward.”

Sergeant 1st Class Robert Freeman, who deployed with Beale in 2009 recalled leadership lessons Beale imparted as a mentor and teacher to the Soldiers of Troop A.

“Beale was in charge of all our supplies,” recalled Freeman.  Every single morning, He would literally go over every single thing we loaded,” said Freeman. “But I learned so much from that.  It made me a better NCO. He always wanted me to know my mission, and my routes. He was a constant professional and teacher.”

Crystal Beale, wife of John and long-time supporter of the 108th Cavalry thanked the Soldiers for the dedication and thanked them for their service.

“I just want to thank you all for this day,” said Beale. “I pray over every one of you and thank you that you serve.”

After sharing some of Sgt. 1st Class Beale’s favorite quotes from military history Crystal was joined by Powell and Command Sgt. Major John Ballenger, senior enlisted advisor for the 1st Squadron 108th Cavalry in revealing the sign dedicating the field in honor of Sgt 1st Class Beale. Captain Samuel Jerome, commander of Troop A, closed out the ceremony and invited Soldiers, veterans and family members to share stories and fellowship.

Following the ceremony, the armory grounds resounded with laughter as family and friends recalled the life and times of John Beale, consummate Soldier, gregarious personality, and friend to everyone he met.

Sgt. 1st Class John Beale's family and military family joined together for the dedication of the SFC John C. Beale Field at the Cedartown Armory of Troop A,
1-108th Cavalry Oct 4, 2020. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

1940-1941: The Year of Three Adjutants General of Georgia

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

Left to right: Brig. Gen. John Stoddard, Brig. Gen. Marion Williamson and Brig. Gen. Sion Hawkins. Georgia National Guard Archives.
In the four-month period from September 1940 to January 1941, The Georgia National Guard had three Adjutants General. This brief retrospective looks at the service of the three adjutants general whose terms are among the shortest in Georgia history.

Crest of the 264th CAB. Ga. National Guard
Major Marion Williamson of Atlanta assumed the office of Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard Sept. 30, 1940 replacing Brig. Gen. John Stoddard who resigned to take command of the 214th Coast Artillery Regiment which had been called into federal service. Stoddard, a Navy veteran of World War I founded the Washington Georgia-based Battery B, 264th Coast Artillery Battalion in 1930.[1] In October,1939, the battalion was redesignated the 214th CAB. Stoddard, with his long association with the Statesboro-based unit was offered command necessitating a replacement by Georgia Governor Ed Rivers.[2] Stoddard would command the 1-214th CAB in the Pacific Theater. After the war he served as editor of the Washington Ga. News Reporter.[3]

Collar Disc of Co. H 122nd Inf.
Ga. National Guard Archives

Williamson was born June 23, 1902 in Athens, Ga. He enlisted as a private in Atlanta’s Company H, 122nd Infantry Regiment in February 1924 and was commissioned a second lieutenant the following month. Williamson received a law degree from Emory University in 1928 and practiced law in Atlanta while continuing to serve with the 122nd. He practiced law for ten years begore entering state employment with the Georgia Department of Labor in 1938. On July 1, 1939, the 122nd was reorganized and redesignated the 179th Field Artillery Regiment. Williamson, then in command of Company H, became commander of Battery D.[4]

Williamson’s term as Adjutant General ended January 14, 1941 when Governor Eugene Talmadge assumed office and selected Lt. Col. Sion B. Hawkins to succeed him. Williamson remained in the Army and served through World War II in the Mediterranean Theater of the war. Returning home, he assumed the office of Director of the Ga. Department of Labor, an office he held until 1967. He died June 30, 1989 at age 89[5] and is buried in Marietta National Cemetery.

Crest of the 122nd Inf. Regt.
Ga. National Guard Archives
Hawkins, a 53-year-old resident of Americus, Ga. enlisted in the Georgia National Guard in 1904 at the age of 17. He worked his way through enlisted ranks and joined the U.S. Army in 1917.  He served in World War I as a lieutenant with the 82nd Division’s 321st Machine Gun Battalion and fought during the St. Mihiel and Meuse Argonne offensives.[6] On the eve of his selection to serve as Georgia’s Adjutant General, Hawkins served as executive officer of the 122nd Infantry. Hawkins served as Georgia’s Adjutant General until January 12, 1943 when Governor Ellis Arnall replaced him with Brig. Gen. Clark Howell.


[1]  Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia, 1939, 4.

[2] “Rivers Confers with Stoddard Over Draft Plans.” Atlanta Constitution. Sept. 20, 1940, 1.

[3] “J.E. Stoddard Dies; Editor, Guard Chief.” Atlanta Constitution. April 19, 1958, 1.

[4] The National Guard Register. 1939, 304.

[5] “Mr. Marion Williamson, Georgia Labor Official, WWII Draft Director” Atlanta Constitution, July 5, 1989, 48.

[6] “Mild Mannered Bachelor Given Military Post.” Atlanta Constitution. January 5, 1941, 2.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sept. 29, 2015: Battery C, 1-118th’s First Firing of the M777

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Ga. Army National Guard


Battery C, 1-118th FAR conducts the first live fire mission of its M777 155 mm howitzers at Fort Stewart
Sept. 29, 2015. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

Battery C, 1st Battalion 118th Field Artillery Regiment fired the first round from its newly assigned M777 howitzers during a live fire event at Fort Stewart Ga. on the misty morning of Sept. 29, 2015.

Just four days prior to the firing, Lt. Col. David Allen, commander of the 1-118th FAR presided over an activation ceremony for Battery C during which the battery’s guidon was entrusted to Capt. Jared Smith, battery commander. During the ceremony, rain began to fall. In five days, the Red Legs would answer Mother Nature’s rain with artillery thunder.

Battery C, 1-118th FAR following an activation ceremony at Fort Stewart, Ga. Sept. 24, 2015. Photo by Capt. William Carraway


The 1-118 FA contains elements of the oldest and youngest units of the Georgia Guard. With a heritage harkening back to the Chatham Artillery and campaign streamers from the American Revolution and the War of 1812, the 118th FA is steeped in history. While Battery C is the most recent unit, to join the venerable battalion, it too has a history dating back nearly 175 years.

Soldiers of the 118th FAR conduct rifle PT at Camp Wheeler near Macon, Ga. February 21, 1918. Georgia National Guard Archives.
Battery C traces its lineage to the Irish Jasper Greens, an antebellum militia unit formed in Savannah in 1842. In 1846, as part of the 1st Georgia Volunteer Regiment, the Jaspers were called into federal service for the Mexican War. The unit was again called to serve during the American Civil War where it participated in the defense of Savannah and Atlanta. As the 1st Georgia Volunteers, the 118th mustered into federal service for the Spanish American War in Griffin, Ga. May 11, 1898, although they did not see combat. In 1916, when the Georgia Guard was mobilized for Mexican border service, the 1st Georgia served near El Paso, Texas. Returning from border service, the unit was activated in 1917 for service in World War I and was designated for the first time as Battery C, 118th FA Sept. 23, 1917. Following the war, the unit served in the Georgia National Guard until activating for World War II service in 1940. Battery C, and the 118th FA were inactivated at the end of World War II but were reactivated in 1946 with the creation of the 48th Infantry Division.[2] Battery C was part of the 1990 activation of the 48th Brigade in support of Operation Desert Shield; however, the brigade did not ultimately deploy overseas.

Elements of the 118th FA have mobilized three times to Iraq and Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror. In 2005, the battalion mobilized with the 48th Infantry Brigade to Iraq. Battery C was consolidated with Battery B in 2008[3] following the reorganization of the battalion. The inactivation was short lived, and on July 28, 2015, Battery C was reorganized and reactivated in Savannah.

Lieutenant Colonel David Allen, commander of the 1-118th FAR and Capt. Jared Smith, commander of Battery C, 1-118th FAR observe
M777 firing at Fort Stewart, Ga. Sept. 29, 2015. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

Thunder and Steel Rain

Throughout its history, Battery C has manned numerous artillery pieces. From its early colonial-era bronze six-pound cannons to the towed 105 M101 artillery pieces of World War II, none were as lethal as the M777 155 mm towed howitzer. The M777 is truly massive. At 10.5 meters in length, the howitzer is longer than the LMTV used to tow it into position and the barrel alone is as long as a Cadillac Escalade. Capable of hurling 100-pound projectile 25 miles using a precision digital-control firing system, the M777 allows Battery C to reach out three times farther than units fielding the 105 mm howitzer. The M777 replaces the M198 in the Army Inventory. A key advantage of the newer weapon system is its weight. At 9,800 pounds, the M777 is three tons lighter than the M198 and can be lifted by a CH-47 helicopter. The M777 can also be brought into service three times faster than the M198. Using the precision-guided Excalibur munition, the M777 can drop rounds within 10 meters of a target from a range of 25 miles.

M777s at sunset at Fort Stewart. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

From six-pound bronze guns to today’s GPS guided artillery, Company C, and the rest of the 1st Battalion 118th FA are a living monument to the history of field artillery in the United States, even predating the nation’s history. This historic unit is not done making history yet.

[1] “Lineage and Honors of the 118th Field Artillery Regiment.” Center for Military History.

[2] Allotment of National Guard Ground Force Units to the State of Georgia, 11 July 1946, 1.

[3] OA 112-08, May 21, 2008.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The History of Military Police in the Georgia Army National Guard Part I

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


The Distinctive Unit Insignia for the 30th MP Company in 1939 and 170th MP Battalion 2020.

Note:  To commemorate the birth of the Military Police Corps September 26, 1941, the History Office will produce a two-part history of MPs in Georgia Part I will consist of the force structure history of MP units in Georgia. Part II will focus on the role MP units have played in operations at home and overseas.

Early MP History

The Military Police Corps was established as a permanent branch in the U.S. Army September 26, 1941, but the military police mission began during the American Revolution with the establishment of the first provost unit.[1] During the American Civil War, the office of the Provost Marshal General was established. By the time of the First World War, the mobility and mass of armies were taxing the existing provost structure. In May 1917, the War Department approved a restructuring of Army divisions that included a headquarters company with two MP companies.[2] That July, the 1st Division fielded two MP companies marking the first officially organized MP units.

The 1st Squadron of Cavalry, Georgia National Guard on provost duty at Camp Gordon, Ga. in 1917. Georgia Guard Archives.
First MP Units in Georgia

With the entry of the United States in World War I, units of the Georgia National Guard were assigned to the 31st Division. In the reorganization that followed, elements of Georgia National Guard’s 1st Squadron of Cavalry were assigned the military police role for the division and reorganized as the 106th Headquarters and Military Police. The cavalry units had previously conducted policing functions at Camp Gordon until relieved October 5, 1917 and dispatched to Camp Wheeler in Macon.[3]

2nd Lt. Elliott Neidlinger,
30th MP Co. 1939.
Ga. National Guard Archives
Georgia National Guard Capt. Henry D. Russell served as the Provost Marshall of Macon from 1917 to 1918. After the war, he returned to the Georgia National Guard to serve as commander of the 121st Infantry Regiment. He would go on to command the 30th Division at the start of World War II and was the first commander of the Ga. ARNG’s 48th Infantry Division.[4]

Interwar and World War II

The National Defense Act of 1920 authorized the creation of military police units in the Army.[5] There were no military police units authorized for Georgia when the state began reorganizing its National Guard in 1920. On June 18, 1921, the 164th Combat Engineers was organized in Springfield. The unit was redesignated as Company E, 133rd Engineers June 2, 1924 and on June 1, 1928, was again redesignated as the 30th Military Police Company.[6] The 30th MP Company owned its own armory, a rarity among Georgia Guard units in the 1920s and 1930s[7].This unit served with the 30th Division throughout World War II. Its lineage is perpetuated today by Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment.

U.S. Signal Corps composite image of MP units in World War II. MP. Orientation Branch, Information and Education Division ETOUSA

Military Police units guided the Georgia Army National Guard’s 121st Infantry Regiment and the 118th, 179th and 230th Field Artillery Battalions from their landing areas on Utah and Omaha beaches to their assembly areas and ensured orderly flow of personnel and equipment. When the 121st Infantry was heavily engaged with German forces in the Hurtgen Force, MPs kept armor, artillery and supplies moving freely into the engagement area to support them.[8] The 30th MP Company similarly supported the 118th and 230th Field Artillery battalions during the fighting at Mortain where the 30th Division earned the Presidential Unit Citation.

Post World War II Reorganizations: 48th Infantry and 48th Armor Division

The initial allotment of National Guard ground force units for the state of Georgia on July 11, 1946 included the authorization for the 48th Military Police Company to serve as the MP element for the 48th Infantry Division. In 1955, the 48th Infantry Division was reorganized as an armor division with the 48th MP Company continuing its role.[9]

The 48th MP Company in 1947. Georgia National Guard Archives
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the 48th MP Company provided provost duties for the 48th Division, served as the honor guard for the governor during Governor’s Day activities and frequently provided the color guard for the National Guard Association of Georgia conventions and other gatherings.

1968 Reorganization

An Army-wide reorganization in 1968 eliminated the 48th Armor Division. Former 48th units were reorganized under the 3rd Brigade, 30th Division.[10] Because the 30th Division was split among multiple states, Georgia received an allotment for a platoon of MPs designated the 3rd Platoon, 30th MP Company based in Macon.[11]

The 48th MP Company was reorganized as the 190th MP Company in 1968 with the inactivation of the 48th AD.[12] The 190th was organized with the 178th MP Company and 1148th Transportation Company to form the 170th MP Battalion with headquarters in Atlanta.[13] The 170th perpetuated the lineage and honors of the 179th Artillery Battalion that fought in the European Theater of World War II.

Lieutenant Colonel James Preston, commander of the 176th Military Police Battalion leads the 179th and 182nd MP Companies during a pass
in review at Fort Stewart in June 1970. Preston, a veteran of World War II, joined the Georgia Army National Guard in 1946 and
retired in 1976 as a brigadier general. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The 1968 reorganization also established the 176th MP Battalion with headquarters and the 179th MP Company in Forsyth and the 182nd MP Company in Macon. These two battalions. Were assigned to the Emergency Operations Headquarters based in Decatur. The EOH is the forerunner of today’s 78th Troop Command.

1973 Reorganization and the Birth of the 48th Brigade

In 1973, the Georgia Army National Guard underwent another major reorganization. In October, The National Guard Bureau approved Governor Jimmy Carter’s request for a separate brigade in the Georgia National Guard. Accordingly, on December 1, 1973, the 3rd Brigade, 30th Division was reorganized as the 48th Brigade. The reorganization brought an additional 278 personnel slots to the state but eliminated the 176th MP Battalion.[14] Headquarters of the 176th became the headquarters detachment of the new 148th Support Detachment while the 179th MP Company was reorganized as Company C, 148th. The 182nd MP Company was inactivated.[15]

The 170th MP Battalion Lost and Regained

On September 30, 1990, a change to the troop allotment to the State of Georgia consolidated the 170th MP Battalion into the 190th MP Company.[16] For the next 17 years, the 190th and 178th MP Companies were the only MP units in the state.

The Monroe-based 178th MP Company, July 13, 1980. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The Georgia National Guard organized Headquarters Detachment, 170th MP Battalion and the 278th MP Company on September 1, 2007 with the 170th based in Decatur and the 278th in Augusta.[17] Because the previous 170th MP Battalion’s lineage had passed on to the 190th MP Company, the new 170th MP Battalion did not perpetuation the old battalion’s lineage and was granted a 2008 federal recognition date.

First Sgt. Tommy Long retires the guidon of the 278th Military Police Company during the unit’s inactivation ceremony at Fort Gordon January 10, 2016.
Photo by Capt. William Carraway
One year later, the 179th MP was organized in Savannah.[18] This unit had no connection to the lineage of the previous 179th MP and was federally recognized May 12, 2011.[19]

First Lt. Kevin Smith and Cpl. John Mcewaney of the 179th MP Company conduct a ground patrol during a snow flurry in Afghanistan in 2011.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

Further Force Structure Changes

The 278th MP Company was inactivated during a ceremony at Fort Gordon January 10, 2016.

The Kennesaw-based 190th Military Police Company was inactivated during a ceremony at the Kennesaw Armory on Sept. 17, 2019. With the consolidation of the 190th personnel into the 170th MP Battalion, the lineage of the original 170th MP Battalion, which passed into the 190th MP Company in 1990 was passed along to the current 170th MP Battalion.

As of September 26, 2020, the 170th MP Battalion with the 178th and 179th MP Companies were assigned to the Marietta-based 201st Regional Support Group.

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the Fort Stewart-based 179th Military Police Company Atlanta Police Department
officers in downtown Atlanta June 1, 2020. photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent


[1] Robert K. Wright. Military Police. Army Lineage Series, Center for Military History, Washington D.C. 1992, 3.

[2] Wright, 7.

[3] “Gordon’s Selectmen will do Guard Duty.” Atlanta Constitution, October 5, 1917, 5. Source courtesy of Michael Hitt.

[4] Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia, 1939, 26.

[5] Wright, 9.

[6] 1939, 34

[7] 1939, 35

[8] MP. Orientation Branch, Information and Education Division ETOUSA, 1945, 10-11.

[9] NGARPTP 325.4 October 17, 1955.

[10] NG AROTO 1002-01 Georgia RA 71-67 December 14, 1967.

[11] NG AROTO 1002-01 Georgia RA 71-67 December 14, 1967, 17.

[12] NG AROTO 1002-01 Georgia RA 71-67 December 14, 1967.

[13] Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 1968. Marietta, GA: 1969.

[14] “Third Brigade is Now 48th.” Georgia Guardsman Magazine, Nov Dec 1973, 6.

[15] NGB ARO00-207-02-GA Reorganization Authority 153-73.

[16] OA 252-90 October 11, 1990.

[17] OA 97-06 October 28, 2005.

[18] OA 309-07 June 7, 2007.

[19] OA 405-11 September 20, 2011.