Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Thanksgiving Apart: A History of Overseas Service for Georgia’s Citizen Soldiers and Airmen

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Left: Soldiers of Company F, 2nd Infantry Regiment Georgia Guard eat Sniders Pork and beans from the can within site of the Mexican Border while
mobilized in 1916. Georgia Guard Archives. Right: Ga. ARNG Soldiers of the 1-171 Aviation Regiment observe Thanksgiving 2019 in Kosovo.
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lee Lane.

As families in Georgia sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this year, nearly 500 Georgia Guardsmen will observe Thanksgiving away from their families. Among those currently deployed are Soldiers of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 201st Regional Support Group and 78th Troop Command and Airmen of the Georgia Air National Guard’s Warner Robins and Savannah-based 116th Air Control Wing and 165th Airlift Wing. These Soldiers and Airmen are the latest to experience the sacrifice and separation of a century of overseas service for the Georgia National Guard.


World War I


In the summer of 1916, the Georgia National Guard was called to active service along with other National Guard states to provide security along the Mexican Border. Among the 3,600 of Georgia’s Citizen Soldiers mobilized was Sgt. Robert Gober Burton of the Monroe-based Company H, 2nd Georgia Infantry Regiment. The Guardsmen enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast, but as Burton wrote on December 1, 1916, Thanksgiving Day was memorable not for dinner, but for duty.

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the Macon-based 2nd Georgia Infantry Regiment on duty on the border on Thanksgiving Day 1916.
The Soldiers are George Feeker, Robert Gober Burton, E. J. Moore and Jim Mathews. Georgia Guard Archives.


“We certainly had a Thanksgiving dinner today. We missed ours Thursday but made up for it Friday. We missed it because we were on outpost duty. We had all the things that go with a Thanksgiving dinner: chicken, dressing, cranberries and everything…


Your devoted son,



The Georgia Guard returned from border duty in the spring of 1917. By then, the United States had declared war on Germany. Presently, Burton and the newly formed 151st Machine Gun Battalion would be dispatched for overseas service in October 1917. By Thanksgiving Day, Burton and the 151st MGB were in Uruffe France. Writing the day before Thanksgiving, Burton requested comforts from home.


Somewhere in France


November 28, 1917


My dearest mama,


I wrote you to send me something for Christmas. Well don’t forget to send me a big fruitcake. The amount that you can send is limited but just send another box.


By all means, send me some chewing tobacco. Some toilet articles, soap, shaving soap, talcum powder, and don’t send over one towel at a time.


Don’t you worry about me for a minute for I am getting along just as fine as possible


Your devoted son,



For the next 12 months, Burton the 151st endured unspeakable conditions along the western front until the Armistice of November 11, 1918 ended the war. Writing home to his mother the day after Thanksgiving 1918, Sgt. Burton gave voice to the incredulity of a generation that the war was finally over.


Septfontaine Luxemburg


Nov 29, 1918


My dearest mother,


It has certainly been a busy year for me. It has also been rather full of thrills and adventure.


Well mother dear, it seems that it won’t be long till we are back in the dear old U.S.A and home. Can it be possible that the war is over? I can hardly believe it. But the Germans have given up their fleet, the fleet that was to dominate the seas. They are turning over their big guns and all the material asked for so it must be so. God has certainly been good to me. I have been blessed.


Well mother dearest, I can’t think of anything else to write tonight.


As ever, your devoted son,




Sgt. R.G. Burton


Co. A. 151 M.G.Bn.


World War II


Burton returned home in 1919 along with his fellow Soldiers of the Georgia National Guard. A generation would pass before the Georgia Guard was again called to mobilize for overseas service. In September 1940, nearly 5,200 Georgia Guard Soldiers were brought to active duty due to events in Europe. Soldiers of the 118th Field Artillery and 121st Infantry Regiment would spend Thanksgiving 1940 at Fort Jackson, S.C. conducting initial training.


Menu for the Thanksgiving meal enjoyed by the Citizen Soldiers of the Georgia National Guard’s Company B 121st Infantry Regiment.
Georgia National Guard Archives.


Thanksgiving of 1941 would find Soldiers of the Georgia Guard participating in the Carolina Maneuvers while aviators of the 128th Observation Squadron trained at Lawson Field at Fort Benning.

As families gathered around the table for Thanksgiving in 1942, Georgia Guard Artillery units were participating in the Louisiana Maneuvers while other units trained at Camp Blanding. Meanwhile, in the Pacific Theater, the anti-aircraft guns of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 101st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion repelled Japanese bombing runs on Papua New Guinea. The 101st continued to defend airspace over Papua New Guinea in 1943 while units bound for the European Theater of Operations continued training.


Corporal Jimmie Smallwood from Ola, Ga., and Pfc. Gordon Mitchell, of the Georgia Army National Guard’s Battery A, 945th Field Artillery Battalion,
4th Armored Division, set up their tent on the snowy ground of Luxembourg. National Archives.

By Thanksgiving Day, 1944, seven battalions of Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers were fighting in Europe. The 179th Field Artillery Battalion was supporting operations near Bidestroff and Loudrefing, France while Soldiers of the 118th Field Artillery Regiment were stationed near Langweiler, Germany. The guns of the 230th Field Artillery Regiment were in action near Langendorf and Lohn while the 945th Field Artillery supported attacks by the 26th Infantry and 4th Armored Divisions in the vicinity of Dieuve, France during the Loraine Offensive. Meanwhile, Georgia Guard aviators of the former 128th Observation Squadron flew missions out of Sterparone, Italy with the 483rd Bombardment Group.

Korean War

With the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, the Georgia Army National Guard’s 108th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade was activated. The Soldiers spent Thanksgiving of 1950 at Fort Bliss Texas before being dispatched to locations from Chicago to Philadelphia where they provided anti-aircraft cover to American industrial centers.

An F-84 Thunderjet of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Squadron is lifted onto the deck of the Escort Carrier Sitkoh Bay
preparatory to sailing to Japan to assist in the United Nations’ air war against communist forces in Korea. Georgia Guard Archives.

Georgia Air National Guard aviators were mobilized in 1950 including the Marietta-based 128th Fighter Squadron. In 1951, the Savannah-based 158th Fighter Squadron was dispatched to Japan aboard the U.S.S. Sitkoh Bay. The 158th flew combat missions in the skies over Korea before returning to the United States in 1952.


Vietnam War


Aircrews of the Savannah-based 165th Air Transport Group participate in Operation Christmas Star in November and December 1965.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

In November and December, 1965, air crews of the Georgia Air National Guard and Citizen-Airmen from other states volunteered for a special mission to Vietnam. Nearly 80 Air National Guard aircraft ultimately participated in Operation Christmas Star, a multi-state airlift operation designed to provide service members in Southeast Asia with Christmas gifts contributed by a grateful nation.



Desert Shield/Desert Storm


Nearly 40 years would pass before Georgia’s Citizen Soldiers were again called to overseas service. Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, more than 500 Georgia Guardsmen of the 190th Military Police Company, 1148th Transportation Company and 165th Heavy Maintenance Company were mobilized to Saudi Arabia where they experienced Thanksgiving in a foreign country. By the end of 1990, nearly 5,300 Georgia Guardsmen had been mobilized.


Georgia National Guard Airmen, from the 165th Airlift Wing, conduct an airdrop of American, Italian, French, and Dutch paratroopers over Pisa, Italy, on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Since September 11, 2001, more than 23,000 Georgia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed overseas. On Thanksgiving Day 2019, Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the 1st Battalion 171st Aviation Regiment received Thanksgiving lunch served by Col. Dwayne Wilson, chief of staff of the Ga. ARNG and current commander of the Georgia Army National Guard. Joining in the Thanksgiving meal were Lt. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe as well as Col. Jason Fryman and Command Sgt. Major Jeff Earhart, command team of the Marietta-based 78th Aviation Troop Command. 

Ga. ARNG Soldiers of the 1-171 Aviation Regiment observe Thanksgiving 2019 in Kosovo. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lee Lane.




Thursday, November 11, 2021

Nov. 11, 1918: The Georgia National Guard and the Day the Great War Ended

By Maj. William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Non-commissioned officers of the Georgia National Guard’s 151st Machine Gun Battalion in Germany in 1919. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On Nov. 7, 1918, after more than 12 months service in France, the Georgia National

Sgt. Charles B. Long. 

Guard’s 151st Machine Gun Battalion reached Thelonne, a small village set among hills just south of the Meuse River and the important supply hub of Sedan. While in Thelonne, the battalion was subjected to severe German artillery fire. The next day, Cpl. Charles B Long of Company B died of wounds. The 28-year-old native of Macon, Ga. was the last battlefield casualty of the 151st.

The 151st Machine Gun Battalion was composed of three companies of the Georgia National Guard’s 2nd Georgia Infantry (later the 121st Infantry). The Soldiers of the 151st came from more than 150 towns across Georgia. It was the only Georgia Guard unit to deploy to combat as an organic unit.

The firing position at Thelonne would be the last of more than 80 positions established by the battalion since arriving in France in October 1917. In the intervening months as part of the Allied Expeditionary Force, the 151st participated in ten engagements, and was in contact with the enemy for 167 days. With an original strength of 581, the battalion suffered 443 casualties including 57 killed, mortally wounded or missing in action.


The village of Thelonne, France. The 151st MGB arrived here Nov. 7, 1918 and suffered its final casualty the next day. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

The battalion was relieved from their front-line positions November 8, 1918. On November 11, 1918, the day the armistice went into effect the 151st MGB was on the march from Grand Armoises to Germont.[1]


The Georgia National Guard's 151st Machine Gun Battalion held this commanding position overlooking Sedan, France when the Armistice was declared
November 11, 1918. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

Sergeant Robert Gober Burton of Monroe, Ga. had served with Company A, 151st MGB through all of its campaigns and was wounded during the Second Battle of the Marne. Writing home to his mother after receiving news of the armistice, Burton expressed disbelief.


November 17, 1918

East of the Meuse River

My dearest mother,

Well will write you for the first time since the war has finished. Can you realize that the war has actually finished? For the first day or so I could not grasp that we would not have to go back up and fight some more. I am becoming more convinced each day that it has finished.

Long lines of Frenchmen pass each day and all day long coming from Germany. Most of them have been prisoners for four long miserable years. And they tell some horrible tales of those four years.

Can it really be that we have won the war and that we won’t have to go up and fight any more? That the Germans won’t shoot us anymore?

Great have been the celebrations in France since the Armistice was signed. Frenchmen coming back to their homes and the meeting of brothers and fathers and mothers and old friends. The Americans were certainly warmly received in the towns which they liberated. They have liberated many French towns and many thousands of the inhabitants.

Well mother dear, will close for this time. Am waiting for a letter from you.

Your ever devoted son,









[1] Arthur Peavy and White Miller. The 151st Machine Gun Battalion 42d (Rainbow) Division: A Battalion History and Citations of the Rainbow August 13, 1917 to April 26, 1919. ( J. W. Burke Co., 1919) 20.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Connections in History: The U.S. Marine Corps Birthday and the 48th IBCT

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Left: The United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Photo by Ben Stanfield. Right: Brigadier General Holden West,
commander of the Ga. ARNG and United States Marine. Georgia National Guard Archives.

What does the United States Marine Corps birthday and the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have in common?

On November 10, United States Marines around the world celebrate the birth of the United States Marine Corps, established by the Continental Congress in 1775. According to Marine Corps tradition, there is no such thing as a former Marine.[1]

Company C, 121st Infantry Regiment, Georgia Army National Guard in 1939. Private Holden West is center, 3rd row. Private 1st Class
Andrew McKenna, future commander of the Emergency Operations Center, forerunner of the 78th Troop Command kneels third from left.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

On January 16, 1939, Holden West of Bolingbroke, Ga. enlisted in Company C, 121st Infantry Regiment at the age of 18.[2] In March 1942 he transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve and was activated July 1, 1943 upon graduating from Mercer University. West participated in the amphibious assaults on Tarawa and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant before landing with his unit on Iwo Jima.[3]

Colonel Holden West observes annual training in 1971 with Maj. Gen. Ernest Vandiver, Georgia's Adjutant General and Governor Jimmy Carter.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

In the reorganization of the Ga. ARNG following the war West rejoined the 121st. In 1973 he became the first commander of the 48th Infantry Brigade and two years later was appointed to command the Georgia Army National Guard.[4] West died in 2001 at the age of 79 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Ga.


Georgia Governor George Busbee swears Brigadier General Holden West in as Georgia's Assistant Adjutant General-Army Jan. 15, 1975 during a
joint session of the Georgia House and Senate. Georgia National Guard Archives.

[1] “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” United States Marine

[2] Secretary of the Army. Official National Guard Register (Army) 1 January 1953. Washington D.C. National  Guard Bureau 1953) 1188.

[3] “West Promoted.” Georgia National Guard Magazine. March-April 1973, 10.

[4] “B.G. Holden West is Asst. AG, Army.” Georgia Guardsman Magazine. January 1975, 2.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The 44-Year Military Career of Master Sgt. Mark McDaniel

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Master Sergeant Mark McDaniel's career in the Ga. ARNG began in Co A, 1-108th Armor and concluded with a ceremony
at the Clay National Guard Center Nov. 6, 2021.

Family, friends and fellow service members of Master Sgt. Mark McDaniel gathered in the drill hall of the Clay National Guard Center to celebrate his nearly 45-year career during a retirement ceremony Nov. 6, 2021.

McDaniel enlisted in the United States Army Dec. 14, 1976. He completed initial training as a track vehicle repairer and was assigned to duty stations at Fort Riley and Manheim, Germany.

Leaving the Army in 1981, McDaniel enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard and was assigned to Company A, 108th Armor Regiment in Rome, Ga. He was employed fulltime as a mechanic at Field Maintenance Shop Calhoun where he would remain form more than 40 years rising to the position of shop supervisor.

Field Maintenance Shop Calhoun in 2017. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

McDaniel was mobilized with the 48th Brigade in response to Desert Storm., In recognition of outstanding performance of duty McDaniel was recognized with the Army Commendation Medal. In 1993 while assigned as a maintenance supervisor with Company A, McDaniel was ordered to state active duty in response to a severe winter storm which impacted north Georgia. Through his efforts, the unit established an operation center at Floyd Medical Center to coordinate with medical and law enforcement officials.

Transferring to Company B, 1-108th in 1999, McDaniel was again mobilized from March to October 2001 as part of the Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While stationed at Camp Comanche near Tuzla Bosnia, McDaniel, as battalion maintenance sergeant, supervised a maintenance section of 44 Soldiers responsible for more than 300 pieces of rolling stock. Upon his return to Georgia, McDaniel transferred to the Calhoun-based Headquarters Company, 1-108th Armor. By 2004, McDaniel was the recognized maintenance expert in the battalion and received the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his leadership and technical skill in keeping battalion assets fully mission capable during the annual training and G8 conference, both conducted in 2004.

McDaniel kept the 1-108th Armor rolling from Bosnia to Iraq. 
McDaniel deployed to Iraq with the 108th Armor in 2005. On June 26, 2005, a fire erupted on FOB Mahmudiyah where the 108th was stationed. McDaniel rushed to the scene and entered the structure going room to smoke-filled-room to ensure all personnel had evacuated. Upon determining that all personnel were safe, McDaniel, realizing that the fire threatened supplies and ammunition stores, mounted a forklift began transporting storage containers away from the conflagration. Through his example, other Soldiers joined in the effort using an M88 recovery vehicle and M1923 five-ton truck to move more than 20 large military storage containers away from the approaching flames. For his actions, McDaniel was recognized with an Army Commendation Medal with V Device.

Achieving the rank of master sergeant in 2007, McDaniel was appointed 1st Sgt. of Company D, 148th Brigade Support Battalion and deployed with the company to Afghanistan from 2009-2010 in support of Task Force 108. For his service as the security forces first sergeant for Task Force 108th at Camp Blackhorse near Kabul, McDaniel was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

From 2013 to 2017 McDaniel served as first sergeant of Headquarters Company 148th

BSB in Macon, Ga. McDaniel ultimately served as a company first sergeant for a combined nine years and received his third Meritorious Service Medal in recognition for services rendered as first sergeant.

In his final assignment with the Georgia Army National Guard, McDaniel served as part of the maintenance assistance and instruction team passing along the knowledge he accrued over four decades of service. In recognition of his contributions to the Georgia Army National Guard, Col. Roger Dillard, deputy chief of staff for logistics, presented McDaniel with the Legion of Merit. The award was followed by presentation of gifts from long-time colleagues and friends in the maintenance, logistics, transportation and ordnance fields.

In his farewell remarks, McDaniel acknowledged service members who had influenced him over the years and expressed gratitude for the gifts before presenting one of his own. Calling on Harriet Morgan, Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation, McDaniel extolled the work of the organization in helping Soldiers and Airmen of the organization in times of crisis. As a final gesture to an organization to which he had given nearly 45 years of service, McDaniel presented the FSF with a contribution thanking Morgan for the efforts of the FSF in helping Soldiers and Airmen.

“It was the E-4s and below got me where I am,” said McDaniel. “When they became E-5s and E-6s, they got the job done. These are the Soldiers that make you what you are. They make you or break you.”

Friday, November 5, 2021

122nd Long Range Surveillance Unit Completes First Unit Jump in Ga. ARNG History

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Soldiers of Company H, 122nd load into a crew pod carried by a CH-54 for the first unit jump of the Ga. ARNG Nov. 5, 1988.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

On November 5, 1988, sixty-seven members of Company H, 122nd Infantry Regiment’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Company assembled on Fort Stewart’s Taylor Creek Drop Zone for the first unit jump in the history of the Georgia Army National Guard.[1] Following a prejump inspection from jumpmaster Staff Sgt Kenneth Hutnick, the Soldiers awaited the approach of a CH-54 helicopter equipped with a crew pod. The first chalk of LRSU Soldiers boarded the pod and were lifted to a jump height of 1,500 feet. Soon the sky filled with paratroopers as the Georgians drifted to the ground. Subsequent chalks were carried aloft in CH 54s and CH 47 Chinooks.

Left: Staff Sgt. Ken Hutnick of Company H, 122nd LRRP conducts a pre-jump inspection. Right: Staff Sergeant Dean DeAngelo from Co. H, 121 Infantry LRS, assists Capt. Craig Henderson, commander of the 165th Quartermaster Company during a pre-jump inspection April 28, 2016.

The 122nd LRRRP, commanded by Capt. Al Fracker of Lawrenceville, was organized and federally recognized in Cartersville Sept. 1, 1987.[2] Its original complement of Soldiers included veterans of the Vietnam War. The unit was reorganized as Company H, 121st Infantry Regiment Sept. 1, 1992.[3] Relocation to Newnan followed in 1994. From its Newnan headquarters, Company H entered federal service Feb 7, 2003 with the 221st Military Intelligence Battalion and mobilized to Iraq. On July 20 Sgt 1st Class Christopher Willoughby was killed in Baghdad. A veteran of more than eight-years’ service in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Willoughby was the first Georgia National Guardsman to fall in overseas service since the Korean War.

Company H was destined for two more overseas deployments returning to Iraq in 2006 and mobilizing as part of Troop C, 3rd Squadron 108th Cavalry, 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade as part of the Kosovo Peace Keeping Force 14 in 2011.[4]

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of Company H, 121st Infantry conduct airborne operations in 1988 and 2013. Georgia National Guard archives.

With the pending inactivation of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Battalion, the unit was transferred to the 221st MI Bn of the 78th Troop Command and redesignated Company H, 121st Infantry Regiment. Soldiers of Company H conducted airborne operations in the Country of Georgia in May 2016 as part of the final overseas training mission of the 560th BFSB. The following year, Company H was inactivated during a ceremony at Wright Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Ga. where Lt. Col. John Futchko, commander of the 221st MI Bn and Capt. Christopher Pulliam, the final commander of Company H cased the units colors.

Left: A Soldier of Company H, 122nd Infantry Regiment’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Company leaps from a crew pod carried by a CH-54
helicopter Nov. 5, 1988 at Fort Stewart. Right: Ga. ARNG Capt. Christopher Pulliam, commander of the Marietta-based Company H, 121st Infantry
(Long Range Surveillance) exits a C-130 of the Savannah, Ga.-based 165th Airlift Wing in the skies over Vaziani, Country of Georgia, during
an airborne operation Aug. 4, 2017. 


[1] Elliot Minor. “LRRP drops-on at Ft. Stewart” The Georgia Guardsman. Dec1988/Jan 1988, 1.


[2] OA 8-87 “Organization of Company H, 122nd Infantry Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Co (LRRP)” (Washington D.C.: Department of the Army and Air Force, Feb. 12, 1987).


[3] OA 261-92. “Reorganization of Georgia ARNG Units.” (Washington D.C: National Guard Bureau, Oct. 21, 1992).


[4] “560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.” Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 2011. (Atlanta: Ga. DOD 2012) 16.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Nov. 2, 1960: The Georgia Air National Guard Gets Global Mission

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


The first C-97 assigned to the Georgia Air National Guard arrives in Georgia June 1, 1961. The aircraft is still in its KC-97 configuration and will
require months of conversion to the C-97G model. The aircraft replaced the F-86L Sabre Jets (inset) flown by the 128th and 158th Fighter Squadrons.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

On Nov. 2, 1960, The Georgia Air National Guard announced that it would transition from a fighter aircraft to a global transport role. The 128th Fighter Squadron in Marietta and the 158th FS in Savannah were among nine fighter squadrons nationwide to be converted to air-transport. [1]

Maj. Gen. George Hearn

The announcement came ten months after a January 1960 directive by the Secretary of the Air Force to transfer a number of multi-engine Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter transport aircraft from the Military Air Transport Service to the Air National Guard. Squadrons of the Minnesota and California Air National Guard were among the first units tapped to receive the Stratofreighter aircraft.[2]

Major General George Hearn, Georgia’s Adjutant General and senior leaders of the Georgia Air National Guard discussed the possibility of a mission change with National Guard Bureau for more than six months before the final decision. Among the advantages of the conversion noted by Hearn was a ten percent increase in enlisted personnel and pilots for the two squadrons.

Following the November 2 announcement, Brig. Gen. Bernard M. Davey, commander of the 116th Air Defense Wing, confirmed the 116th would receive the C-97 air frame April 1, 1961 and be redesignated the 116th Air Transport Wing (Heavy). Pilots of the 128th and 158th would transition from the F-86L Sabre Jet to the four-engine pressurized aircraft capable of flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet at speeds of up to 260 miles per hour and a maximum range of 4,300 miles.

In addition to ushering in the global transport mission, the coming of the C-97 brought an immediate increase of 50 officers and aircrew to the Georgia Air National Guard to include pilots, navigators, flight engineers and panel engineers.[3]

The first KC-97 Stratofreighter is delivered to Dobbins Air Force Base June 1, 1961. Georgia National Guard Archives. 

The initial allotment of aircraft were KC-97 aerial refuelers previously assigned to the Strategic Air Command. Each aircraft required four to six months of conversion time following delivery in 1961. After removal of the refueling equipment, the aircraft were converted to the C-97G model.


U.S. Army Soldiers unload a C-97 Stratofreighter of the Georgia Air National Guard's 165th Air Transport Group at Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon,
Vietnam in December 1965. U.S. Air Force Photograph by Master Sgt. Lee Estes.

Over the next five years, the Georgia Air National Guard circled the globe in the C-97. In November 1965, C-97s of the Georgia Air National Guard flew the first of several transport missions to Vietnam. In 1966 the Georgia Air National Guard replaced the C-97 with the C-124 Globemaster.

[1] “Air Guard Gets Global Transports.” The Atlanta Constitution. Nov. 2, 1960, 6.

[2] “ANG Gets MAT Role.” The Georgia Guardsman. Jan. Feb, 1960, 9.

[3] “Global Missions Set for Air Guard as Wing Converts to Air Transport.” The Georgia Guardsman. Nov Dec 1960, 2.

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