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National Guard gets new commander

POSTED: September 29, 2007 5:04 a.m.
Georgia Army National Guardsmen from Fort Stewart and the Hinesville area have a new commander following the announcement by Gov. Sonny Perdue of retirement of Lt. Gen. David B. Poythress. The governor named Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt, commander, Georgia Army National Guard, as the new adjutant general of Georgia.
Poythress, who has led the Georgia Department of Defense and the National Guard since 1999, will retire in November, capping a 44-year military career.
The announcement affects more than 13,000 Georgia Army and Air National Guardsmen including soldiers of National Guard Training Center, 3rd Infantry Detachment, 75 Engineer Detachment, Company A, 1/121 Infantry, the Regional Training Site, Combined Support Maintenance Facility and the Youth Challenge Academy at Fort Stewart, and the 148th Brigade Support Battalion of Hinesville.
“Lt. Gen. Poythress has been a devoted, committed servant to our state,” Perdue said. “I am grateful for his steadfast leadership and dedication to the safety and security of all Georgians.”
Georgia’s adjutant general reports directly to the governor with responsibility for providing command and control authority over the Georgia Army National Guard, the Georgia Air National Guard and the all-volunteer Georgia State Defense Force.
Poythress has led the Georgia military during one of its busiest periods in National Guard history. Under his leadership the Georgia Guard:
• Deployed nearly 10,000 soldiers and airmen to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other places around the world in support of the war on terrorism;
• Sent guardsmen to the Mexican border as part of Operation Jump Start;
• Completed  a high profile security mission in Georgia’s airports in the months following 9/11;
• Provided more than 2,200 guardsmen to help Gulf Coast states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina;
• Acquired the Naval Air Station Atlanta property following the Base Realignment and Closure decision and began the process of moving units and functions onto the facility;
Poythress oversaw the transition of the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, to a Joint Stars unit and the only Air Force total-force blended wing. Under his leadership, the Department of Defense was the first state agency to receive the Oglethorpe Award for performance excellence.
In 2006, he was promoted by Perdue to the rank of lieutenant general, making him the first adjutant general in the Georgia Guard’s 273-year history to wear three stars.
Nesbitt commanded the Joint Task Force G8, a task force of more than 7,000 personnel from all services in military support for the Group of Eight Summit at Sea Island in June 2004.
Nesbitt was the first National Guard officer selected to command a task force comprised of both active duty and National Guard personnel.
“Gen. Nesbitt brings with him a wealth of knowledge and more than 40 years of military experience that have honed his leadership skills,” Perdue said.
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