Monday, February 22, 2021

The Career of Brig. Gen. Wyont Bean, longtime Ga ARNG Artillery Officer


By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Lt. Col. Wyont Bean
with Battery F, 179th FA in 1952.
Georgia National Guard Archives

Brigadier General Wyont Bean began his career in the Ga. Army National Guard February 22, 1924 upon enlisting in Company C, 200th Infantry Regiment at the age of 18. His captain was Thomas Lamar Alexander who would command the regiment after it was redesignated the 122nd Infantry. 

Bean rose through the enlisted ranks to serve as company first sergeant before accepting an appointment as a 2nd lieutenant in the same company, then designated Company C, 122nd Infantry Regiment. A graduate of Tech High School in Atlanta, Bean qualified as an expert rifleman in the 1933 rifle matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. On Sept. 21, 1936 Bean transferred to Company G, 122nd Infantry Regiment and accepted promotion to 1st lieutenant. That year he again scored as an expert rifleman at Camp Perry.

The Ga. National Guard rifle team at Camp Perry, Ohio in 1937. Georgia National Guard Archives

On July 1, 1939, the 122nd Infantry Regiment was redesignated the 179th Field Artillery beginning Bean’s long association with the field artillery of the Ga. National Guard. Shortly before entering federal service, Bean was promoted to captain. Bean entered active federal service February 14, 1941 and remained on active duty for five years during which he participated in the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. Bean commanded the 694th FA Battalion and served as the intelligence officer of the 472nd Field Artillery Group, 9th Army. 

Upon leaving federal service, Lt. Col. Bean served in the Officers’ Reserve Corps until May 2, 1947 when he assumed command of the newly reactivated 945th Field Artillery Battalion of the Ga. ARNG’s 48th Infantry Division Artillery. The following year, the unit was redesignated the 179th FA BN and received the Croix de Guerre with Palme from the French Government during a ceremony at the State Capitol.


 Lieutenant Colonel Wyont Bean leads the 179th Field Artillery Battalion during the Army Day
Parade in Atlanta April 6, 1949. Georgia National Guard Archives.

Bean commanded the 179th for ten years. In 1953, Bean’s son, Wyont Bean Jr., enlisted in the Ga. ARNG and Lt. Col. Bean administered his oath of office. Four years later, Bean swore his son into the Ga. ARNG as a second lieutenant. Lieutenant Bean transferred to the Iowa National Guard in 1959 to attend Palmer College of Chiropractic but rejoined the Ga. ARNG after his 1963 graduation.

Lieutenant Colonel Wyont Bean swears his son, Wyont Bean Jr. into the Georgia National Guard in September 1953 while Col. Roy Norvell, commander of the 122nd Infantry Regiment observes. Georgia National Guard Archives
Upon the retirement of Maj. Gen. Patrick Seawright, commander of the 48th Armor Division in 1957, Bean was promoted to colonel and assigned as the executive officer of the 48th AD Artillery. He served as president of the National Guard Association of Georgia in 1960.

Bean retired from the Ga. ARNG November 1, 1962 and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. As a civilian, Bean served as a planning engineer with the City of Atlanta until his retirement in 1966. That year, his son, Capt. W. Bean, commanded Battery D, 179th Field Artillery Battalion.

Brigadier General Bean died July 26, 1970 at the age of 64.



1 comment:

  1. Ned McD. here.
    Thank you for celebrating the finest of our citizenry: the citizen-soldier. The U.S. military has its challenges but remains an exemplar of upward mobility for the best.