Saturday, October 16, 2021

Citizen-Soldiers of 202nd Ordnance Company add to long history of Waynesboro Guard units

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Left: Guidon of the Waynesboro, Georgia-based 202nd Ordnance Company. Right: Flames erupt from the muzzle of a Georgia Army National Guard
self-propelled howitzer of Battery C, 1-214th Field Artillery at Fort Stewart March 16, 2016. Photos by Maj. William Carraway

Families and friends of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 202nd Ordnance Company gathered at Burke County High School in Waynesboro, Georgia for a farewell ceremony heralding the unit’s upcoming overseas deployment. The Citizen Soldiers of the 202nd will join more than 500 Georgia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen presently deployed to five geographic combatant commands across the globe.

Captain Richard Henry, commander of the Waynesboro-based 202nd Ordnance Company stands before his Soldiers during a departure ceremony
at Burke County High School Oct. 16, 2021. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

“Today we not only honor the Soldiers of the 202nd Ordnance Company, but we honor fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, and employers,” said Lt. Col. Trevis McCullough, commander of the 265th Chemical Battalion addressing the Soldiers and family members. “Know that you are a vital part of our team and our ability to execute this mission rests in your commitment.”

Lieutenant Colonel Trevis McCullough, commander of the 265th Chemical Battalion, praises the Soldiers of the 202nd Ordnance Company during a
departure ceremony at Burke County High School Oct. 16, 2021. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

In addition to McCullough, several key leaders of the Ga. National Guard gathered to witness the departure including Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, Georgia’s Adjutant General; Brig. Gen. Dwayne Wilson, commander of the Ga. ARNG and Col. Shane Strickland, commander of the 201st Regional Support Group. In addition, several state and community leaders witnessed the departure ceremony to include Bill Tinley of the Waynesboro City Council who commanded the Georgia National Guard unit in Waynesboro when it was designated Battery C, 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery.

The Soldiers of the 202nd are capable of eliminating explosive hazards such as improvised explosive devices. To become an explosives ordnance disposal specialist, Soldiers must complete nearly one year of specialized training covering chemistry, robotics and methods used to detect and neutralize explosive threats.  For the deployment, the 202nd completed an aggressive pre-mobilization schedule.

“The 202nd conducted 65 days of EOD operations training for deployment,” said Strickland. “They worked with the EOD National Guard community across six states and seven different units during their train up to help cross training and fully certified three new team leaders in six months.”

A Georgia National Guard Soldier of the
202nd Ordnance Company, 201st Regional
Support Group reels out detonation cord
 during an exercise at the Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
June 28, 2014. Photo by Staff Sgt. Mike Perry.
Since its organization in 1987 under the 78th Troop Command[1], the 202nd has built a robust training and mission resume. In 1990, personnel of the 202nd were placed on alert and mobilized to Fort Drum, New York, in support of Operation Desert Storm. The unit served on active duty at Fort Drum until May 20, 1991.[2]

In March 1999, the 202nd conducted a two-week overseas mission in Panama where it helped clear unexploded ammunition from small-arms and artillery ranges.[3] In December 2002, the 202nd entered federal service for Operation Noble Eagle and served on active duty through June 15, 2004, in support of security operations in the United States. Upon its demobilization at Fort Bragg and subsequent return to Georgia, the 202nd relocated from Forest Park to Marietta.[4]

When the 78th TC received the Region IV Homeland Response Force mission assignment in 2010, the 202nd capabilities augmented the mission of saving lives in the event of a domestic terrorist or natural emergency.[5] The 202nd participated in a series of exercise beginning with a joint exercise at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, in Feb. 2010.[6] The unit mobilized to Afghanistan in 2011, where its skillset helped protect coalition forces and Afghan civilians from the threat of unexploded IEDs and mines. A 2013 reorganization of the Georgia National Guard resulted in the transfer of the 202nd from the 78th TC to the Marietta-based 201st Regional Support Group. In March 2019, the 202nd was assigned to the 265th Chemical Battalion, part of the 201st RSG.[7]

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the Marietta-based 202nd Ordnance Company prepare for a mission to support local and state law enforcement
agencies during demonstrations in Atlanta May 31, 2020. photo by Spc. Tori Miller.

On March 27, 2020, the 202nd moved to its current armory in Waynesboro, Georgia.[8] Since that time personnel of the 202nd supported the state’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, augmented law enforcement in response to civil unrest and mobilized to Washington D.C. to support security operations for the presidential inauguration.

An M-109 Howitzer of the Waynesboro-based Battery C, 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery maneuvers at Fort Stewart in this undated image.
Georgia National Guard Archives.
Waynesboro has been home to a Georgia National Guard unit since it welcomed the Burke Infantry Feb. 5, 1890.[9] The Waynesboro unit mobilized to the Mexican Border in 1916 as Company E, 1st Georgia Infantry Regiment and served with the 118th Field Artillery, 31st Division in World War I. The unit again mobilized as Battery A, 118th Field Artillery during World War II serving with the 30th Division in the European Theater of Operations. Reconstituted as Battery A after the end of World War II, the unit underwent a series of reorganizations representing air defense artillery, signal and infantry units until Jan 1, 1968 when it was designated Battery C, 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment.[10] For more than more than 50 years, the Waynesboro unit fielded the massive 155 mm self-propelled howitzer. Battery C mobilized to Iraq in 2007 and in 2013 deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

[1] OA 79-87 June 1, 1987.


[2] PO 044-006


[3] “EOD is an Explosive Business.” The Georgia Guardsman. Summer 1999, 8.


[4] OA 181-04 September 24, 2004.


[5] Tekoa Burns. “Not Just Another AT for JTF 781.” The Georgia Guardsman.  Vol 1 No. 6 2009, 14.


[6] Jerry De Avila. “Georgia CBRNE Unit Participates in Florida Exercise.” The Georgia Guardsman.


[7] PO 234003 August 22, 2019.


[8] PO 87-002.

[9] Ófficial Register of the National Guard of Georgia for 1917. (Atlanta: Georgia National Guard, Jan. 1, 1917) 83.

[10] RA 71-67 Dec 14, 1967.

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