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NEWS | Feb. 14, 2023

Georgia Guard Embarks on 1st Stage of Overseas Deployment

By By Maj. William Carraway, Georgia National Guard 201st Regional Support Group

MARIETTA, Ga. – The Georgia National Guard continued its two-decade history of continuous global engagement Feb. 13 with a departure ceremony for the 201st Regional Support Group. The Soldiers will train stateside before deploying overseas later this year.

“The Soldiers you see before you represent the very best of our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Dwayne Wilson, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard, at Clay National Guard Center. “This organization has a rich history supporting the Army National Guard’s two missions: responding during domestic response operations and fighting and winning as the primary combat reserve of the Army.”

The 201st RSG, a diverse group of units with specialty response missions, is equally capable of supporting overseas combat and domestic emergency response operations.

Two battalions, the 170th Military Police Battalion in Decatur and the Marietta-based 265th Chemical Battalion, can mobilize Soldiers to perform security and response operations overseas and augment civil authorities when natural disasters strike the southeast United States.

Rounding out the 201st RSG force structure is the 870th Engineer Detachment and the 4th Civil Support Team Weapons of Mass Destruction. A full-time unit capable of rapid response, the 4th CST WMD regularly trains with federal and state response agencies and supports large-scale public events to ensure public safety.

The 201st RSG has deployed units and personnel multiple times since it was federally recognized as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 201st Quartermaster Battalion July 9, 2004, in Newnan, Georgia.

Fifty-eight personnel of the 201st Headquarters Detachment were ordered into active federal service April 22, 2011, as Agribusiness Development Team 1. With a command team of Col. Bill Williams III and Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Parker, ADT 1 assumed responsibility for the agribusiness development mission at Forward Operating Base Shank in Southeastern Afghanistan from the Nevada National Guard June 15, 2011. Agribusiness Development Team I returned home to Fort Gordon April 21, 2012, and was released from active federal service May 25, 2012. They were replaced by ADT 2, Georgia Guard Soldiers of the 265th Regional Support Group.

The 201st RSG provided the third and last of Georgia’s agribusiness development teams. ADT 3 and its 48 personnel were ordered into active federal service with the command team of Col. Barry Beach and Command Sgt. Major Melvin Dover Jan. 3, 2013, at Fort Gordon.

While ADT 3 was in Afghanistan, the 201st changed station to the Marietta-based Clay National Guard Center. The station changing was prompted by a reorganization of the Georgia Guard that assigned the 201st RSG to headquarters command of the Region IV Homeland Response Force mission Oct. 1, 2013.

Returning to CNGC Nov. 23, 2013, ADT 3 was released from active federal service Feb. 6, 2014, and reverted to state control. ADT 3 was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for “exceptionally meritorious service” supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Also mobilized to Afghanistan in 2013 were more than 140 Soldiers of the Fort Gordon-based 278th Military Police Company. The Soldiers returned from Afghanistan in February 2014. The 278th had previously deployed to Iraq in 2008 while assigned to the Georgia National Guard’s 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

The 248th Medical Company deployed more than 40 Soldiers to Egypt in June 2015. Over nine months, the 248th provided health services in support of multinational forces and observers. The 248th MED served overseas again in 2019 for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.

Mobilizing overseas in 2021, the 138th Chemical Company provided chemical response support in South Korea, while the 202nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company provided explosives ordnance response and disposal capability for Operation Spartan Shield.

On July 15, 2018, Soldiers of the 201st mobilized to Iraq, supporting Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. The Soldiers returned April 23, 2019.

In addition to providing trained units to support overseas combat, the 201st has repeatedly responded to natural disasters at home. When winter storms struck Georgia communities in January and February 2014, units of the 201st RSG assisted stranded motorists and provided emergency response capabilities. In October 2015, more than 100 Soldiers of the 810th Engineer Company and 278th MP Company responded following unprecedented rain in South Carolina.

When not actively responding to hurricanes such as Irma, Matthew and Michael in recent years, the 201st conducted multiple training missions to hone its response capability.

Soldiers of the 201st were the first Georgia National Guardsmen called to extended active duty service during Georgia’s coordinated response to COVID-19 in March 2020. In May 2020, the 201st RSG supported civil authorities during civil unrest in Atlanta and again in Atlanta and Washington in January 2021 during the presidential inauguration.