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Posted: April 27, 2017 10:49 a.m.
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Ga ANG welcomes 300 new Soldiers

Photos By Capt. William Carraway/

Col. John Gentry, commander of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, speaks to newly assigned Soldiers following a battle handoff ceremony at Fort Stewart April 21.

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At the beginning of the ceremony, Soldiers marched onto Donovan Field in mass formation before a display of Georgia Guard vehicles and aircraft. Major General Jarrard and the command team of the Georgia Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Lt. Col. Christopher Corley and Command Sgt. Major Shawn Lewis, presented coins to Soldiers who exceeded training standards in physical fitness and marksmanship. Soldiers who were honor graduates of their basic training or advanced individual training classes were presented with the Army Achievement Medal.

In his remarks following the awards presentation, Jarrard thanked family members in attendance then directed his comments to the assembled Soldiers.

“About 30 percent of today’s youth are eligible for military service, but far fewer end up serving,” said Jarrard “We are very grateful that you chose to serve. There are a lot of you and you will have a direct impact on our organization.”

Representatives of the Georgia Army National Guard’s five brigades stepped forward to receive the new Soldiers into their commands. Soldiers assigned to the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were called first. As the names were called, each Soldier shouted the brigade motto “Send Me” and sprinted to join the 48th IBCT formation. This process was repeated for the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 78th Troop Command, 201st Regional Support Group and 78th Aviation Troop Command.

Once all troops had been assigned, commanders took charge of their individual formations and leaders began to brief their new Soldiers.

Colonel John Gentry, commander of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade welcomed the newest Soldiers of his command and shared tips for success in the military.

“Live the Army Values, and always treat others with dignity and respect, whether in or out of uniform,” said Gentry.
On the other side of the field, Brigadier General Tom Blackstock and Command Sgt. Major Roy Marchert, command team of the 78th Troop Command echoed Gentry’s words, and noted the importance of the battle handoff ceremony.

“If you watch the news, you know we need you, your country needs you.” Said Marchert. “You are coming in at an outstanding time and I wish nothing but the best for you in your careers.”

The Guardsmen will serve in 16 different career fields. Four out of ten will serve in combat arms as combat engineers, infantrymen, and in the field artillery. Another 40 percent will provide vital support in logistics, transportation, military police and human resources. Still others will enter technical careers in signal, intelligence, chemical and medical fields. They will serve in nearly 80 different units from Calhoun and Toccoa in the north to Thomasville and Brunswick in the south.

Major General Jarrard summed up the success of the Recruit Sustainment Program and battle handoff ceremony.

“The Georgia Department of Defense is a recognized leader in strength, readiness and innovation,” said Jarrard. “All of those things were on display today.”

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