Sunday, October 1, 2023

Key Dates in the History of the 78th Troop Command

By Maj.William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Left: Brigadier General Horace Cheek, first commander of the Troop Command. Right: Guidons of units assigned to the 78th Troop Command in 2017.
Photo by Pfc. Isaiah Matthews.

Early History

The Georgia Army National Guard’s 78th Troop Command was organized and federally recognized as the Command-and-Control Headquarters in Atlanta October 1, 1978 to provide command and control for separate organizations within the state.[1] Prior to the establishment of the CAC, these units were organized under the Emergency Operations Center and later the 122nd Support Center. Upon organization, the CAC adopted the Oglethorpe crest shoulder-sleeve insignia which had been created for the State Headquarters Detachment in 1970.[2]

The CAC was initially composed of Army aviation, signal, public affairs, maintenance, transportation, medical, military police companies and the Army band. Commanded by Brig, Gen. Horace L. Cheek Jr., the CAC supported active Army units at Fort Benning, Fort Campbell, Anniston Army Depot, the US Military Academy and NATO forces in West Germany during fiscal year 1979.[3]

A CH-54 of the 1160th Transportation Company (Heavy Helicopter) in flight circa 1980. Georgia Guard Archives.

The 1980s

In 1980, with an authorized strength of 2,854, CAC units participated in a command post exercise with the 167th Corps Support Command at Fort Anniston, Ala.[4]

In 1981, the 1st Battalion, 122nd Infantry Tow Light Anti-Tank Battalion became mission capable as part of the CAC. The 122nd was one of four TLAT units in the nation.

In 1982, the CAC was reorganized and redesignated as Troop Command in order to streamline its mobilization capabilities.[5] The 170th Military Police Battalion participated in an overseas deployment training exercise in Mannheim, West Germany and the 122nd Support Center participated in Exercise Vulcan Knight at Camp Blanding, Fla.[6] The aviation component of the Troop Command continued to grow with the 151st Military Intelligence Battalion, comprised of the 158th and 159th MI Companies flying the OV-1 Mohawk and the 1160th Transportation Company which operated the CH-54 Skycrane.[7]

An OV-1 Mohawk of the 158th Military Intelligence Battalion in flight. Georgia National Guard Archives.

In 1983, the 122nd TLAT was rated as combat ready and the 277th Maintenance Company supported active-duty units during annual training in West Germany.[8] The Troop Command, then composed of 24 units in 12 Georgia locations participated in extensive mobilization exercises designed to familiarize units with their war-time mission and area of operation.

Headquarters of Troop Command moved from Atlanta to Decatur in 1984. That year, the 122nd TLAT won the National Guard Bureau’s Milton A. Reckford Trophy with Company C receiving the Eisenhower Trophy designating the most outstanding National Guard unit in Georgia. Personnel from Troop Command again conducted overseas deployment training in West Germany.[9]

In 1985, personnel from the 110th Maintenance Battalion, 277th Maintenance Company and 122nd Rear Area Operations Center mobilized to West Germany for ODT missions while units of the 122nd TLAT participated in Exercise Cascade Peak in Fort Lewis, Wa. The following year, Company A, 122nd TLAT mobilized for Team Spirit Exercise in South Korea. Members of the 151st Military Intelligence Battalion also mobilized in support of Team Spirit. Meanwhile, the 138th Medical Company and 122nd RAOC supported ODT missions in Europe.[10]

WINDER, Ga. November 2, 1986 - Soldiers of the 78th Troop Command's 122nd TLAT Battalion became the first Georgia Guardsmen
to drill with the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle. The HMMWV replaced the jeeps that had been the mainstay of the Ga. Army National Guard.

By the end of 1986 the 122nd TLAT became the first unit in the Georgia Guard to field a new low-profile vehicle known as a HMMWV.[11] Company A, 122nd deployed to Korea for the Team Spirit Exercise while members of the 151st MI Battalion augmented maintenance operations of the 2nd Division in Korea. Soldiers of the 138th Medical Company and 122nd Rear Area Operations Center additionally mobilized to Europe for Battle Book and Crested Eagle exercises.

1987 found several Troop Command units overseas for ODT missions. The 110th Maintenance Battalion and 138th Medical Company travelled to Ecuador for Blazing Trail Exercise while the 124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment travelled to Panama. Troop Command welcomed new units in 1987 including Company H, 122nd Infantry Long Range Reconnaissance Platoon and the 202nd Explosive Ordnance Detachment. Troop Command also sent 300 Soldiers in support of the Forsyth, Ga. “Brotherhood March.”[12]

Soldiers of the 166th Maintenance Company prepare for a training mission at Fort Stewart April 25, 1988. Photo by Elliott Minor.

Troop Command Soldiers from the 170th MP Battalion participated in cold weather training In Minnesota in 1988. Later that year, the battalion sent MPs in support of the Democrat National Convention. The 82nd Maintenance Company conducted annual training in West Germany and the 122nd RAOC and 201st Maintenance Company supported missions in Germany for the Return of Forces to Europe exercise. 122nd TLAT personnel returned to Korea for Team Spirit and also supported Exercise Crested Eagle in California.[13]

By 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell, Troop Command was comprised of 35 units and was heavily involved in exercises around the world. In addition to operations in Virginia, Florida and Washington, Troop Command Soldiers participated in Operation Quetzal in Guatemala and Yama Sakura in Japan.[14]

The 1990s

In August, 1990, the first units of the Georgia Army National Guard were mobilized for Desert Storm service with the 190th MP and 1148th Transportation Company arriving first in Saudi Arabia with the 165th Supply Company soon to follow. The 1148th TC would travel more than 520,000 miles and deliver nearly 10 million gallons of fuel during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and the 190th MP Company would provide supply route and VIP security. The 166th Maintenance Company was mobilized to Fort Stewart to assist the 48th Brigade with its mobilization and the 124th MPAD would accompany the 48th to Fort Irwin, Calif. The 202nd Ordnance Detachment mobilized to Fort Drum and conducted more than 70 missions in a four-state area.[15]

The years following Operation Desert Storm brought reorganization and reductions. The 122nd TLAT was inactivated in September 1992. The same reorganization brought the 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery into the TC. The 1-214th conducted training in Norway in September 1992 while the 277th Maintenance Company conducted training in Germany. Further reorganizational changes found the 151st converting to form a medical evacuation battalion while the 110th Maintenance Battalion converted to form a corps support battalion. The Troop Command also received the 117th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.[16]

The 117th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital at Fort Stewart. Georgia National Guard Archives.

A major reorganization in 1994 caused Troop Command to be redesignated as the 78th Troop Command under command of Col. Robert Hughes. Under the consolidated structure, the 78th TC received the 265th Engineer Group, to include the 560th and 878th Engineer Battalions. For several years thereafter, the State Area Command was divided into two separate units: the 48th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) and the 78th Troop Command. In 1994, the 1-214th returned to Norway and conducted training with Norwegian and Canadian forces. Nearly 100 Soldiers of the 277th Maintenance Company deployed to Kuwait in June to participate in overseas deployment training. Company G, 244th Aviation Regiment supported the Florida National Guard ahead of their 1995 rotation at Fort Irwin while the 1177th Transportation Company participated in exercises in Mississippi and Texas. Company B, 244th Aviation prepared to become the first company in the Georgia National Guard to receive the UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter and the 117th MASH provided medical support to Winn Army Hospital at Fort Stewart as part of their annual training. The 151st EVAC received the U-21 aircraft in support of its new mission.[17]

Staff of Headquarters Detachment, 170th Military Police Battalion in 1991. Georgia National Guard Archives.

In 1997, the 78th Troop Command was 3,600 strong. [18] The following year, the 1-214th became the first Georgia Guard unit to field the Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer. Headquarters hosted ten physicians from the country of Georgia to witness U.S. military and civilian medical practices. Following the outbreak of massive forest fires, the 1st Battalion, 171st Combat Support Aviation Battalion and Detachment 1, Company F, 131st Aviation were called to provide mission support to the state of Florida.[19]

By 1999, the 3,000 member 78th TC was comprised of the 265th Engineer Group, the 878th Engineer Battalion, 110th Corps Support Battalion, 151st Medical Evacuation Battalion and the 122nd Rear Operations Center. The aviation units that had formerly been part of the Troop Command were now organized under the 1st Aviation Group, forerunner of today’s 78th Aviation Troop Command. Command of the 78th transitioned from Brig. Gen. Michael Seely to Col. Terrell T. Reddick. Seely advanced to command the Georgia Army National Guard. Later that year, the 110th CSB participated in Operation Golden Cargo 99, a massive transportation operation reminiscent of Patriot Bandoleer in 2015. The 110th CSB transported 4,500 tons of MLRS pods from Northern Illinois to Eastern Texas. Engineers of the 878th participated in Operation Caribbean Castle in the Dominican Republic and the 277th Maintenance Company spent three weeks in Germany. Travelling to Panama, the 202nd EOD cleared small arms and artillery ranges of unexploded ordnance. Also deploying to Panama, the 178th Military Police Company supported the closing of the Panama Canal Zone and was the last US Reserve component unit to rotate through the country before the transition. LRS Soldiers traveled to the country of Georgia and Tunisia in support of operations. In June, the 221st MI Battalion made history when Lt. Col. Maria Britt became the first female battalion commander in the history of the Georgia National Guard.[20]

FORT MCPHERSON, September, 2002 - Sergeant Harold Davis. a Georgia National Guardsman with the 190th Military Police Company, waves traffic
through to the next stop at the Fort McPherson gates. The 190th MPs were mobilized to augment Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem security following
the September 11 terrorist attacks. Photo by Spc. Jeff Lowry.

The Global War on Terror

In 2001, Brig. Gen. Reddick commanded 3,560 Troop Command Soldiers. By 2003, 3,000 Troop Command Soldiers were serving in the Middle East. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Soldiers of the 78th Troop Command were the first Georgia Guard Soldiers in Afghanistan. Beginning with the November 2001 mobilization of the 122nd ROC, the 78th TC began a steady mobilization schedule in support of the Global War on Terror. The 139th Chaplain Detachment was the last unit of the 78th deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2010 while the 170th Cyber Protection Team was the last Troop Command unit to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Units of the 78th TC continue to support overseas contingency operations, most recently with the deployment of personnel of the 165th Quartermaster Company in September 2023. From 2001-2023, units of the 78th Troop Command mobilized on more than 40 separate deployments.

May 2, 2010 - Guardsmen from Kennesaw’s 277th Maintenance Company receive an honorable sendoff from the city’s mayor, Mark Mathews
 and military dignitaries before deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Georgia National Guard Archives.

Homeland Response

While maintaining a steady overseas deployment schedule, units of the 78th Troop Command participated in missions at home ranging from the flood of 1994 and the herculean effort in support of the 1996 Olympic Games to support for the G8 conference at Sea Island in the summer of 2004.[21] In 2006, the Kennesaw-based 781st Troop Command assumed the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear role in support of homeland response.[22]

MONTEZUMA, Ga. July, 1994 - Tropical Storm Alberto dropped 25 inches of rain on Southwest Georgia and nearly 4,000 Georgia Guardsmen
mobilized to assist. Among those responding were Soldiers of the Augusta-based 878th Engineer Battalion seen here bulldozing fresh dirt
over a washed-out road. Photo by Spc. Chris Pearson.

In 2010, the 78th Troop Command was selected as one of ten regional homeland response forces in the nation.[23] The headquarters of 78th TC moved from Decatur to the Clay National Guard Center in July 2011.[24] The 78th maintained the HRF mission until the establishment of the 201st Regional Support Group as a separate major command on October 1, 2013.[25]

Recent History

Over the past decade, Soldiers of the 78th Troop Command have supported a wide array of missions at home and abroad. The 265th Regional Support Group based in Metter Georgia supplied an Agricultural Development Team which mobilized to Afghanistan in 2013. That same year, the 110th Combat Service Support Battalion supported logistics missions in Africa while the 124th MPAD assisted the country of Georgia in development of its national disaster response plan.[26] In 2014, the 265 RSG participated in Operation Golden Coyote in South Dakota and the Medical Detachment supported U.S. Army Health clinic operations in Vincenza, Italy.[27] In 2015, the 110th CSSB supported Operation Bandoleer transporting more than 2,500 containers across the United States and later supported Ulchi Freedom Guardian in Korea. That same year, the 78th received the 170th Cyber Protection Team, one of the first ten CPTs established.[28] The following year, the 78th TC lost the 265th RSG to inactivation but gained the services of the 116th Aerial Intelligence Brigade and the 560th Battlefield Coordination Detachment. Later in 2016, units of the 78th were activated in support of Hurricane Matthew Response Operations.[29]

Just one year after Hurricane Matthew, the 78th TC responded to the impact of Hurricane Irma supplying emergency relief supplies to impacted coastal areas. Soldiers of the 124th MPAD and 221st EMIB deployed to Cuba in support of Task Force Guantanamo Bay and the 170th mobilized to Fort Meade in support of Cyber operations. The 122nd Tactical Support Detachment assisted the 7th Infantry Division at the Yakima Training Center during Exercise Bayonet Focus and the 110th CSSB supported a second iteration of Patriot Bandoleer.[30]

In 2018, the 82nd Maintenance Company, 406th Quartermaster Detachment and Company H, 121st Long Range Surveillance Unit inactivated. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael again prompted activation of 78th TC units in 2018. The 1148th Transportation Company provided critical logistical support to the relief effort and were among the last Soldiers on duty in support of the response.[31] In 2019, the 1148th was again called to active duty to support hurricane relief efforts following Hurricane Dorian.[32]

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Fort Gordon-based 1148th Transportation Company provide support to a Fulton County COVID-19
testing site warehouse in Alpharetta, Ga. on June 24, 2020. Georgia Guardsmen assist in the warehouse by loading and organizing the personal
protective equipment to be distributed to various locations throughout Fulton County. Photo by Spc. Tori Miller.
Units and personnel of the 78th Troop Command played key roles during Georgia’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic with units supporting food bank and distribution operations, assisting the Department of Public Health and staffing infection control teams and rapid testing teams.

The 78th Troop Command continues to support overseas training missions. Soldiers have mobilized to the Country of Georgia for multiple iterations of Exercise Noble Partner and Agile Spirit while Soldiers of the 124th MPAD have documented missions in Korea and Morocco. 

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeron Walker of the 124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Georgia Army National Guard, conducts an interview with
 Spc. Michael Brannon of the 148th Brigade Support Battalion in Tantan, Morocco on June 8, 2021. Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Nathan Smith.

[1] OA 144-82

[2] GA NGR 670-5 May 28, 1970.

[3] Robert Whistine. “What’s This CAC Thing?” The Georgia Guardsman. April 30, 1979, 13.

[4] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1980, 14.

[5] OA 144-82.

[6] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1982, 18.


[7] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1982, 21.


[8] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1983, 5.


[9] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1984, 5.


[10] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1985, 3.


[11] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1986. 4.


[12] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1987, 2-3.


[13] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1988, 3.


[14] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1989. 2.


[15] Kenneth Davis. “After the Storm.” Georgia Guardsman Magazine Fall 1991, 1-6.

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


[17] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1994, 7.


[18] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1997, 14.


[19] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1998, 7.


[20] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 1999, 9-10.


[21] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2004. 13.


[22] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2006, 6.


[23] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2010, 12.


[24] OA 215-11

[25] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2013, 17.


[26] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2013, 17.

[27] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2014, 20.

[28] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2015, 20.

[29] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2016, 19.

[30] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2017, 19.

[31]Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2018, 19.

[32] Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Defense 2019, 18.

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