by Major William Carraway, Georgia National Guard
Lieutenant Colonel Jason Lewis relinquished command of the Georgia National Guard’s 4th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team (CST) to Lt. Col. Henry Donaldson during a ceremony at the unit’s Marietta headquarters. Colonel Alexander McLemore, commander of the 201st Regional Support Group (RSG) praised the work of the 4th CST under Lewis’ leadership.
“(The Ga. Department of Defense) realized very early on in (Lewis’) career that he had a knack for working with people, making them strive for success,” observed McLemore. “He was chosen to command the CST for the same reason… Who better to lead a unit that has some of the highest trained professionals in the entire Army? Who better to push a group of seasoned professionals to new heights?”
Lewis, a graduate of North Georgia College and State University, entered service in the Georgia National Guard as a platoon leader in the Dalton-based Company C, 108th Armor. Less than a year into his assignment, Lewis deployed to Iraq with the Macon-based 48th Infantry Brigade. Lewis returned to combat again as commander of the Dalton company during the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s (48th IBCT) 2009 deployment to Afghanistan. Key staff assignments followed with the 48th IBCT and Joint Force Headquarters before Lewis assumed command of the 4th CST April 3, 2018. Under Lewis’ leadership, the 4th CST responded to 34 chemical, biological and radiation response missions, and conducted more than 300 steady state and assist missions.
During the ceremony, McLemore presented Lewis with the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his leadership and accomplishments. Lewis’ wife Deserra received the Georgia Commendation Medal in recognition of her support to the soldiers, airmen and families of the 4th CST.
Lewis thanked McLemore, his family and the soldiers of the 4th CST in his farewell remarks.
“My only real contribution was to provide guidance and direction, the remainder of the idea generation and planning was done by the team, and for that I thank you,” said Lewis.
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Donaldson comes to the 4th CST from the Joint Force Headquarters of the Georgia National Guard where he served as the deputy plans and policy officer for domestic operations. Like Lewis, Donaldson led a platoon in Iraq from 2005 to 2006 and served as commander of the Canton-based Troop B, 108th Cavalry in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. Donaldson additionally has served as an instructor at the Georgia Military Institute. Over his career, Donaldson has served in multiple staff roles culminating in his service as operations officer for the Cumming-based 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.
McLemore welcomed Donaldson to the 201st RSG and 4th CST in his closing remarks during the change of command ceremony.
“My conversations with (Donaldson) have convinced me that he is the most grounded, experienced and well-rounded officer in this organization, bar none,” said McLemore. “Ultimately, he is the best officer to take over this unit from Lt. Col. Lewis.”
The 4th CST was established October 1, 1998, in Georgia as one of the first 10 CST units in the National Guard. Comprised of full-time National Guard soldiers and airmen, the unit provides support to civil authorities by identifying chemical, biological and nuclear hazards and assessing impact and mitigation methods. The unit consistently ranks among the most active teams in the nation providing subject matter expert support to large-scale public events such as Super Bowl LIII and other large-draw sporting and concert events in Atlanta and throughout the southeast region. The 4th CST members are on 24-hour stand-by, 365 days a year, prepared to respond to chemical, biological or nuclear emergencies due to terrorism, natural disasters or accidents.