Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Effingham Hussars: Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery

By Major William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

Left: Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment in 2014. Right: The Effingham Hussars, Sept. 10, 1901. Georgia National Guard Archives.


The Springfield-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment has a long rich history. Although federally recognized as the 48th Military Police Company March 22, 1948 during the post-World War II reorganization of the Georgia National Guard, the Springfield unit also carries on the lineage of the Effingham Hussars which was raised in 1846.

Early History

Capt. Henry Strobhar
The Effingham Hussars entered Confederate service in April 1861 and served in and around Savannah initially under the command of Captain Edward Bird. In January 1863, the Hussars were assigned as Company I, 5th Georgia Cavalry under the command of Capt. Henry Strobhar. Also serving in the 5th Georgia Cavalry were the Georgia Hussars and Liberty Independent Troop who would go on to serve in the Georgia National Guard’s 108th Cavalry Regiment.

The 5th Cavalry served in South Carolina before returning to Georgia in 1864 whereupon it took part in the battles of the Atlanta Campaign. The 5th Cavalry surrendered in Hillsboro, N.C. April 26, 1865.

Reorganization and Mobilization

Following reconstruction, the Effingham Hussars were reconstituted as a unit of the Georgia Volunteers July 11, 1872. The Hussars were dissolved in 1910. Reconstituted June 18, 1921 as Company A, 164th Engineers, the company was redesignated Company E, 133rd Engineers May 7, 1924 and subsequently designated the 30th Military Police Company June 1, 1928. The 30th MP Company was accepted into federal service September 16, 1940 and served in the European Theater of Operations with the 30th Division. Landing at Omaha Beach June 10, 1944, the 30th was heavily engaged in action against St. Lo and again at Mortain August 6, 1944. Driving east across Belgium, the 30th assaulted the Siegfried Line and helped stem the German offensive in the Ardennes in 1945. Crossing the Rhine March 24, 1945, the 30th advanced through Germany reaching the Elbe. The 30th returned to the United States in 1945 after more than 280 days in combat and its units were inactivated.[1]

The 48th Military Police Company in 1947. Georgia National Guard Archives.
Post World War II and the 48th Division

On November 13, 1947, the Georgia National Guard was authorized to reorganize the Springfield unit as the 48th Military Police Company. The unit was federally recognized March 22, 1948 and assigned to the 48th Infantry Division. In 1953, the 48th MP Company won the Governor’s Trophy, which was presented annually to the company that achieved the highest percentage in weapons qualifications at annual training.

The Springfield-based Battery C, 230th Field Artillery Battalion in 1958. Georgia National Guard Archives.
In October 1955, the 48th ID was reorganized as an armored division. The 48th MP Company was designated Battery C, 230th Armored Field Artillery Battalion[2] and equipped with 105 mm self-propelled howitzers. As part of Division Artillery, the 118th and 230th FA Battalions were equipped with the M7 and M54 105 mm self-propelled howitzers while the 179th FA fielded the M55 155 mm self-propelled howitzer.

Left to right: an M54 and M7 105 mm self propelled howitzer of the 48th Armor Division. Georgia National Guard Archives.
In January 1956, Soldiers of Battery C assisted in the search for a missing hunter in Effingham County. After a two-day search, the man was found unharmed.[3]

Over the Labor Day weekend in 1958, Springfield Soldiers assisted Georgia State Patrol in Operation Deathless, an effort to reduce traffic fatalities over the busy holiday travel period.

A June 1959 Army-wide reorganization redesignated the Springfield unit as Battery C, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment.[4] Battery C was recognized July 1, 1961 with the award for the best drilled howitzer section at annual training at Fort Stewart. The unit continued its exemplary performance with a superior rating in the 1962 inspector general’s inspection, a feat that it would accomplish several times over the years.

Loss of the 48th Division and the M109 Era

As part of an Army-wide restructuring, the Georgia National Guard lost the 48th Armor Division January 1, 1968. This reorganization prompted the Springfield unit’s redesignation as Battery C, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment.[5] The 2-214th, with units in Savannah, Springfield and Statesboro was part of the newly established 118th Field Artillery Group (redesignated the 118th FA Brigade in 1980) and was issued the M-109 155 mm self-propelled howitzer in fiscal year 1970.

M-109 Howitzers of the Springfield-based Battery C, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Stewart in 1973. Georgia National Guard Archives.
When a tornado struck Springfield in November 1972, Battery C responded with personnel and equipment to clear debris. The unit was again called to respond when heavy snow blanketed the state in 1973.

Specialist 4 Isaiah Brown sets the cradleon the gun tube of
an M-109 of theSpringfield-based Battery C, 2-214th
Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Stewart in 1983.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

During the 1983 annual training, the 2-214 became the first reserve unit in the United States Army to pass nuclear fire qualification testing. Conducted over 65 hours under field conditions at Fort Stewart, the nuclear firing test required the Guardsmen to complete 51 firing exercises under grueling time and accuracy standards. The 2-214 far exceeded the standard of 80 percent by successfully completing 50 of 51 missions.[6]

The Georgia National Guard underwent a major reorganization in 1993 which brought about the loss several units including the 118th Field Artillery Brigade, 122nd TLAT and the 2-214th.[7] As a result, the Springfield unit received its current designation as Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery[8] and was assigned to the 48th Brigade. The 118th accompanied the 48th to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif May 25 to June 15, 1996.

War on Terror 

The 118th FA deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the 48th Infantry Brigade. With the brigade’s reorganization as the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 118th traded in its Paladins for 105 mm towed howitzers. Battery A mobilized to Afghanistan in 2010 and was recognized with a first-place finish in the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence competition in 2016. The battery again deployed with the 118th to Afghaninstan in 2018 and returned in 2019. Just months later, the 118th was tasked to support the state's coordinated response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Beginning in April 2020, the 118th staffed infection control teams and assisted hospitals and food bank operations.

Soldiers of  Battery A, 118th Field Artillery Regiment fire live rounds from their M777 Howitzer at Fort Stewart Dec. 11, 2018. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

[1] “30th Division: Old Hickory.” https://www.armydivs.com/30th-infantry-division#:~:text=The%2030th%20Infantry%20Division%20arrived,Lo%20break%2Dthrough.

[2] NG AROTO 325.4 October 17, 1955 effective November 1, 1955.

[3] “Springfield Battery Hunts Lost Hunter.” The Georgia Guardsman. January February 1956, 14.

[4] RA 73-59 June 10, 1959 effective July 1, 1959.

[5] RA 71-67 December 14, 1967, effective January 1, 1968.

[6] “214th Gunners Pass Nuclear Firing Test.” The Georgia Guardsman, June July 1983 1 and 8.

[7] Georgia Department of Defense. Annual Report, 1993, 6.

[8] RA 169-93 August 9, 1993, effective September 1, 1993.

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Georgia National Guard’s First Helicopter

By Major William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Sixty-seven years of Georgia Army National Guard rotary wing aviation are represented in this collage.

The Georgia Army National Guard has one of the largest non-attack rotary aircraft inventories in the entire National Guard. The Marietta-based 78th Aviation Troop Command flies helicopters from support facilities in Marietta, Winder and Hunter Army Airfield and has supported combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as peace keeping missions in Kosovo. Georgia National Guard helicopters have also provided critical support to emergency response operations ranging from hurricanes to wildfires. But how long has the Georgia Guard flown helicopters?

The first helicopter assigned to the Georgia National Guard was delivered to Fort Bragg for assembly in March 1953 and was delivered to the state shortly thereafter. The helicopter was a single-engine H-13 and was assigned to the Division Artillery of the 48th Infantry Division. Lieutenant James H. Strickland, aviation officer of the 48th Infantry Division, put the new aircraft through its acceptance tests. It was one of 88 helicopters delivered to the Guard in 1953 with H-13 helicopters assigned to the First, Second and Third Army areas.[1]

FORT MCCLELLAN, ALA 1954 – Georgia National Guard Soldiers of the 48th Infantry Division’s 121st Infantry Regiment get a close look at the
first helicopter in the Georgia National Guard Inventory during annual training at Fort McClellan, Ala. in the summer of 1954. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The H-13 joined the fixed-wing complement of aircraft assigned to the 48th Division which included L-20 Beavers and L-19 Bird Dog observation aircraft.

The Army Aviation Section of the 48th Infantry Division based at Cochran Field in Macon, Ga. in November 1950. Georgia National Guard Archives.

Strickland debuted the H-13 at the 1954 annual training of the 48th Division at Fort McClellan, Ala. Taking a photographer aloft, Strickland collected aerial imagery of the training area. The following year, the H-13 flew missions as part of Operation Minuteman, a nationwide rapid alert exercise that placed more than 318,000 National Guardsmen on mobilization alert April 21, 1955.[2]

FORT MCCLELLAN, ALA – An H-13 helicopter of the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Division Artillery sweeps in low over field lodging
during annual training. Georgia National Guard Archives

Strickland and the H-13 were called to respond to state emergencies beginning with the search for a missing hunter in Effingham County in 1956.[3] In March, Maj. Gen. Georgia Hearn became the first Adjutant General of Georgia to visit units by helicopter as he travelled about the state as part of Muster Day recruiting efforts.

The H-13 became a staple of Georgia National Guard aviation in the 1950s as other units, such as the 48th Reconnaissance Squadron, fielded the aircraft. By the end of the decade, the Georgia Army National Guard had four H-13 helicopters assigned. First Lieutenant Robert Sprayberry, future state aviation officer, completed rotary-wing training December 21, 1957 and was assigned to the state headquarters detachment. Sprayberry flew senior leaders of the Georgia National Guard and provided aerial assistance to the governor’s Operation Deathless, a Labor Day weekend safety mission in 1958.[4] In November 1962, Major Sprayberry flew Governor Ernest Vandiver to Marietta, Calhoun, Lavonia and Hartwell for armory dedication ceremonies.[5]

ATLANTA, September 1958 – Georgia Army National Guard Col. W. R. Robinette, Lt. Col Emmett. Plunkett and Capt. Robert Sprayberry plan
aerial surveillance of highways near Atlanta during Operation Deathless, an information campaign created by Governor Marvin Griffin to reduce
traffic fatalities over the Labor Day Weekend. – Georgia National Guard Archives.

The H-13 remained in service through 1965 and was phased out in favor of the H-23. By 1967, all H-13 in service with the 48th Armor Division had been replaced.


FORT STEWART, GA, July 1967 – H-23 helicopters assigned to the 48th Armor Division participate in Governor’s Day activities at Fort Stewart, Ga.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

[1] “First Helicopter for Georgia NG Delivered for Assembly at Bragg.” The Georgia Guardsman, March 1954, 1.

[2] “Operation Minuteman.” The Georgia Guardsman, March, April, May 1955, 8-10.

[3] “Springfield Battery Hunts Lost Hunter. The Georgia Guardsman, January February 1956, 15.

[4] “Operation Deathless Holds Ga. Fatalities to 8 as Guard Patrols Hwys. Labor Day.” The Georgia Guardsman. September October 1958, 8=9.

[5] “Four New Armories Dedicated in Marietta, Calhoun, Lavonia and Hartwell.” The Georgia Guardsman, September December 1962.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Georgia's 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment Adds New Chapter to 104-Year History

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


The Second Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment in 2022 and 1918. Photo collage by Maj. William Carraway.

Citizen-Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment said goodbye to the command team of Lt. Col. John Avera and Command Sgt. Maj. Rickey Gulley and welcomed Lt. Col. Joshua Patterson and Master Sgt. Daniel Paul during a ceremony at the Monroe County Recreation Center March 5, 2022.

Lieutenant Colonel John Avera transfers the colors of the 2nd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment to Col. Jason Baker, commander of the 48th Infantry
Brigade Combat Team, symbolizing his relinquishment of command during a ceremony in Forsyth, Ga. March 5, 2022. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Colonel Jason Baker, commander of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team presided over the ceremony and recounted the efforts and accomplishments of the 2-121 during Avera and Gulley’s tenure.

“Lieutenant Colonel Avera and Command Sgt. Maj. Gulley, you have led the battalion well, and you can be proud of the accomplishments that have transpired under your leadership,” said Baker. “Your contributions will have a lasting impact and you are leaving behind yet another foundation for continued success.”

Gulley assumed responsibility for the Warrior Battalion in 2018 and guided the battalion through its successful 2018-2019 Afghanistan deployment. Avera assumed command of the battalion in March 2020, just months after the battalion returned from Afghanistan. Within days of his assumption of command, Avera was leading the battalion through unprecedented civil support operations as part of the coordinated response to the Coronavirus pandemic in Georgia. Under the leadership of Avera and Gulley, Soldiers of 2-121 formed infection control teams to disinfect long term care facilities in Albany, Georgia which, in the early months of the pandemic, had one of the highest per-capita rates of COVID-19 cases in the nation. The Soldiers also provided personnel to assist hospital operations and testing facilities.

Specialist Jermon Christy, a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to the Albany-based Company H, 148th Brigade Support Battalion,
prepares testing kits at a specimen point of collection site in Albany, Ga. April 30, 2020. Photo by Sgt. Richard Sadilek.

“Your contributions to COVID operations, without a doubt, saved hundreds of lives,” said Baker.

As civil unrest gripped the nation in May, Soldiers of the Warrior Battalion rushed to the aid of civil law enforcement in Atlanta augmenting security at Centennial Olympic Park and ensuring a safe environment for free expression. Many of these same Citizen Soldiers would again be called to duty in the wake of unrest in Washington DC January 6, 2021. Originally tasked to provide security to the Washington Mall, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 121st Infantry were assigned to provide security to the capitol cordon after volunteering for the mission.

The colors of 2-121 at the United States Capitol January 2021. Photo courtesy of 2-121.

Having battled COVID-19 and responded to two separate civil unrest missions the Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion were again called to duty in 2021, this time mobilizing 370 Soldiers to Morocco for Exercise African Lion. The Soldiers conducted platoon training as well as day and night fire exercises with direct and indirect fire assets. The exercise ended with the 2-121 participating in a multinational combined arms live fire exercise.

Sergeant Thomas Cullens, an infantry mortarman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment,
48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team inspects an M252A1 81mm mortar system during exercise African Lion 21 June 9, 2021, in Tantan, Morocco.
Photo by Capt. Bryant Wine.

In recognition of their outstanding efforts in leading the battalion Baker presented Avera and Gulley with the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of their leadership of “…the battalion during one of its most tumultuous times.” In recognition to their support of the Warrior Battalion, Hannash Avera and Danielle Gulley received the Georgia Commendation Medal.

Left to Right: Lt. Col. Joshua Patterson and Master Sgt. Daniel Paul, incoming command team of the 2nd Battalion 121st Infantry Battalion;
Col. Jason Baker, commander of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; Lt. Col. John Avera and Command Sgt. Maj. Rickey Gulley,
outgoing command team of 2-121 prepare to conduct a change of command ceremony in Forsyth, Ga. March 5, 2022. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Assuming command of 2-121, Lt. Col. Joshua Patterson brings a wealth of experience to his new role. A former enlisted armor crewman with the 48th Brigade’s 108th Armor Regiment, Patterson commissioned and rose through the ranks of the 121st Infantry serving in staff and command roles, He completed two combat tours in Afghanistan with the 48th IBCT and most recently served as the operations officer of the 48th IBCT and 78th Troop Command.

Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Patterson receives the colors of the 2nd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment from Col. Jason Baker, commander
of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, symbolizing his assumption of command during a ceremony in Forsyth, Ga. March 5, 2022.
Photo by Maj. William Carraway

As incoming senior enlisted leader, Master Sgt. Daniel Paul Roberts is also a well acquainted with the 121st. He deployed with Company A, 1-121 to Iraq in 2005. And served in Company H, 121st Infantry Long Range Surveillance. He volunteered to return to Iraq in 2009 with the 178th Military Police Company. Returning to the 121st, Paul served as a platoon sergeant in Company D, 3-121 and as 1st Sgt. of Headquarters Company and Company A, 2-121.

Master Sgt. Daniel Paul receives the colors of the 2nd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment from Lt. Col. Joshua Patterson symbolizing his assumption
of responsibility during a ceremony in Forsyth, Ga. March 5, 2022. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

The Soldiers of 2-121 carry on the tradition of service that predates World War I. As part of the 2nd Georgia Infantry Regiment. Soldiers of units that would constitute the 2nd Battalion mobilized to the Mexican Border in 1916. Returning to Georgia in 1917, the Soldiers immediately began training for European deployment and, in October 1918, sailed for France as part of the newly designated 121st Infantry Regiment. The 2nd Battalion was again called to serve in the European Theater in World War II fighting from Normandy across the Brittany Peninsula and one to the Hurtgen Forest.

December 4, 1944 – Two men of the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment walk down a street amid the ruins of Hurtgen, Germany.
Photo 197428, National Archives.

When the Georgia National Guard was reconstituted in 1946, the 121st Infantry was reorganized as part of the 48th Infantry Division. The units of 2-121 remained in service through the reorganization of the 48th as the 48th Armor Division in 1955 and were one of the original units assigned to the 48th Infantry Brigade when it was constituted in 1973. The 2nd Battalion mobilized to Bosnia Herzegovina in 2001, Iraq in 2005 and to Afghanistan in 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Soldiers from Alpha Company, 2nd Battallion-121 Infantry Regiment pull security at a tactical control point while the Iraqi Army Forces
inspect vehicles on July 10, 2005, near Al-Radwnea, Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon.

The 3rd Squadron 108th Cavalry Regiment: 2008-2016

By Major William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


The 3rd Squadron 108th Cavalry Regiment was organized in Atlanta September 1, 2008 as part of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.[1] Headquarters and Troop C were based in Atlanta while Troops A and B were stationed in Douglasville. The Army granted federal recognition to all units of 3-108 June 2, 2010.[2] Shortly after achieving federal recognition, Soldiers of the 3-108th made an impressive showing at Leapfest where the 3-108th parachute team finished third out of 53 teams.[3]

Soldiers of the 3-108 compete at Leapfest 2010. Georgia National Guard Archives.

Soldiers of 3-108 mobilized to Uganda in April 2011 in support of Atlas Drop 2011. The Guardsmen trained and lived with the 27th Infantry Battalion, Uganda Peoples Defense Force.[4]

Georgia National Guardsmen of the 3-108th participate in a riot training exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany
Nov. 17, 2011. Photo by Spc. Stephen Solomon

On October 2, 2011, Soldiers of 3-108 deployed to Kosovo as part of the U.N. Peacekeeping mission.[5] Stationed at Camp Bondsteel, the Soldiers served as part of Kosovo Force 15 before returning September 27, 2012. During the deployment, Company H, 121st Infantry Long Range Surveillance was consolidated with Troop C.[6]

OGLETHORPE ARMORY, Ellenwood Ga., Sep. 27, 2012 – Soldiers from the 3-108th  prepare to reunite with their families for the first time
since completing their yearlong deployment to Kosovo. Photo by Maj. Will Cox,

Soldiers of the 3-108 were among those who commemorated the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden with an airborne jump from a Georgia Air National Guard C-130 in the skies over Groesbeek, Netherlands September 18, 2014.[7] It was the first airborne operation on the drop zone since World War II.

GROESBEEK, Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2014 - Soldiers of the 3-108 join U.S., Dutch, Brotish and Polish paratroopers to commemorate the 70th anniversary
of Operation Market Garden. Photo by MSgt. Charles Delano.

On August 7, 2015 the Atlanta Readiness Center was dedicated and became the home of 3-108 with the exception of Troop C which remained stationed at Fulton County Airport.[8] That year, the U.S. Army reorganized all Battlefield Surveillance Brigades. As a result, the 560th BfSB was inactivated along with the 3-108th.

ATLANTA, August 7, 2015 - Following remarks by Brig Gen. Joe Jarrard, Georgia's Adjutant General and Lt. Col. Michael Lipper, commander of the
3rd Squadron 108th Cavalry, the Atlanta Readiness Center was officially dedicated. Joining the Guardsmen during the ribbon cutting
ceremony were State Representative Roger Bruce and Kent Henson, project manager with Burns & McDonnell. Georgia Photo by Sgt. Ashley Sutz

Following its March 5, 2016 inactivation, the units of the 3-108 formed the core of the 3rd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment with the exception of Troop C, which was redesignated Company H, 121st LRS.[9]


ATLANTA, March 5, 2016 – Georgia Army National Guard Lieutenant Col. Mike Lipper and Command Sgt. Major
Thomas Grisham command team of the 3rd Squadron, 108th Cavalry, case the squadron colors
during the inactivation ceremony of the 3-108th. Photo by Capt. William Carraway.

[1] OA 132-08 June 17, 2008 effective September 1, 2008.

[2] OA 245-10 Aug 11, 2010.

[3] John Kinnaman. “3rd Squadron Soldiers Take Third at Leapfest. The Georgia Guardsman. August 2010, 12.

[4] Brock Jones. “Georgia Guardsmen Work With Ugandan Troops During Atlas Drop 11” The Georgia Guardsman. May 2011, 11.

[5] Roy Henry. Av Scouts Leave For More Training Before Kosovo Deployment.” The Georgia Guardsman. October 2011, 8.

[6] OA 434-11 January 23, 2012 effective December 1, 2011

[7] Charles Delano. “Operation Market Garden.” The Georgia Guardsman. September 2014, 5.

[8] OA 474-14 November 20, 2014 effective October 1, 2014

[9] OA 545-15 Jan 8, 2016 effective September 1, 2016.

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