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NEWS | Oct. 16, 2021

Citizen-Soldiers of 202nd Ordnance Company embark on overseas deployment

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.

“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.”

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.”

Since its organization in 1987 under the 78th Troop Command, 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.

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. 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.

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. The 202nd participated in a series of exercise beginning with a joint exercise at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, in Feb. 2010. 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.

On March 27, 2020, the 202nd moved to its current armory in Waynesboro, Georgia. 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.