Monday, February 13, 2023

A Short History of the Georgia Hussars

By Major William Carraway, Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


The Georgia Hussars as Troop A, 108th Cavalry recruiting in Savannah in the 1920s. Georgia National Guard Archives.

Shortly after the founding of the Georgia colony, Lord James Oglethorpe realized the need for a mounted troop to provide security for the fledgling colony. Accordingly, Oglethorpe raised a troop which was originally dubbed “The Rangers.” The Rangers’ mission was to patrol the outlying boundaries of Savannah against incursions by the Spanish and neighboring Native American tribes.[1]

The Rangers fought alongside Lord James Oglethorpe against the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh in 1742. When the colonies rebelled against Great Britain the Rangers, subsequently known as the Georgia Hussars, tendered their services and were engaged during the Siege of Savannah in 1779.[2]

The Georgia Hussars during a military review on the Mexican Border in 1916. Photo by 2nd Lt. Vivian Roberts.

The Hussars fought in the American Civil War and were called to active duty on the Mexican Border from 1916-1917 as Troop A, 2nd Squadron of Cavalry. The unit was redesignated Headquarters Troop of the 31st Division in September 1917 and mobilized to France with the division in October 1918. The 31st arrived too late to take an active part in combat operations and the Georgia Hussars and other units of the Georgia National Guard returned to the United States in 1919.[3]

Captain Lester Henderson, commander of the Georgia Hussars, Company A, 108th Cavalry Regiment leads his Soldiers in a parade in Savannah, Ga.
on the eve of activation for World War II service. Georgia National Guard Archives.

In the reorganization that followed World War I, the Georgia Hussars were reconstituted as Troop A, 108th Cavalry Regiment September 13, 1920. The 108th was reorganized to form the 101st Coast Artillery Battalion October 12, 1940. The 101st AAA mobilized to the Pacific Theater in March 1942.[4] Reaching Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea May 3, 1942, the battalion assumed responsibility for air defense over Port Moresby’s airfields.[5] In recognition of its role in the defense of Port Moresby, the 101st was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.[6] Eight members of the unit were individually recognized with the Silver Star. The 101st would subsequently serve in the Philippines where it was awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

PORT MORESBY, New Guinea, September 10, 1943 – Senator Richard Russell of Georgia shakes hand with Cpl. Ellis Page of the 101st Anti-Aircraft
Artillery Battalion during his tour of inspection. To the right is S. M. Griffin, commander of the 101st AAA, and a future Adjutant General
and Governor of Georgia. Photo 231963, National Archives Records Administration.

As part of the post-World War II reorganization the Georgia Hussars were organized and federally recognized as Headquarters Battery, 108th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade and 178th AAA Operations Detachment May 12, 1947.[7] [8] [9]

CAMP STEWART - A 90 mm gun of the 108th AAA Brigade reloading during a firing exercise
at Camp Stewart circa 1954. Courtesy of the National Guard Education Foudation,
Washington, D.C.

The Hussars were awarded the Eisenhower Trophy February 17, 1950 in recognition of its status as the most outstanding unit in the Georgia Army National Guard.[10] The Hussars underwent a series of unit redesignations until 1975 when the unit was designated as Service Battery, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery. The following year, Service Battery, along with the Chatham Artillery, then serving as Headquarters Battery of the 118th Field Artillery Group, were recognized during a ceremony honoring units with continuous service from the American Revolution. The August 29, 1976 ceremony was held in at the Washington Monument in Washington DC with the Secretary of the Army presiding.[11]

With the 1993 reorganization of the Georgia National Guard, Service Battery, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery was consolidated with Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion 118th Field Artillery.[12]


[1] William MacD. Lloyd, “Bloody Marsh to Tokyo,” Georgia Guardsman, April 1950, 10.


[2] William MacD. Lloyd, “Bloody Marsh to Tokyo,” Georgia Guardsman, April 1950, 10.


[3] William Carraway, “Post War Reorganizations of the Georgia National Guard, 1900-1946,” December 2022.


[5] Richard W. Titus, A Chronicle of Georgia’s 101st Separate Coast Artillery Battalion, Antiaircraft, Automatic Weapons Limited to the Period February 16, 1942 to January 1, 1944. First American Ground Troops in New Guinea (Crabapple, GA: Richard Titus, June 1986), 2-31.


[6] War Department, General Orders. No. 21. May 6, 1943.


[7] “Did You Know,” Georgia Guardsman, May 1949, 7.


[8] “Hussars’ Heritage,” Georgia Guardsman October 1949, 4 and 11.


[9] National Guard Bureau, RA 73-59, June 10, 1959.


[10] “Eisenhower Trophy Presented to 178th Opns Det at 214th Anniversary of Georgia Hussars,” Georgia Guardsman, March 1950, 6-7.


[11] “Ga’s Revolutionary Militia Units Honored,” Georgia Guardsman, July-September 1976, 3.


[12] National Guard Bureau, OA 169-93, Washington DC, August 9, 1993.

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