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.

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