Georgia National Guard Engineers Begin Overseas Deployment

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp addresses Soldiers of the 874th Engineer Utilities Detachment during a predeployment ceremony at the unit’s Toccoa, Ga. armory May 3, 2020. Photo by Capt. Edner Julien

by Maj. William Carraway

Major William Carraway

While more than 3,000 Georgia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are currently mobilized across the state in support of COVID-19 response operations, the 874th Engineer Utilities Detachment mobilized from its home station in the early morning hours Sunday, May 4, 2020 in preparation for overseas combat operations.

“As their peers fight COVID-19, the 874th EUD is about to deploy in defense of our freedom,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense. “We know that they are trained, equipped and fully prepared.”

The Georgia Army National Guard has had a unit in Toccoa since World War II. This is the second overseas deployment for the Toccoa Guardsmen who previously mobilized to Afghanistan in 2014

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Maj. Gen. Carden, and Brig. Gen. Randall Simmons, commander of the Ga. ARNG addressed the Soldiers of the 874th EUD during their pre-deployment ceremony, wishing them well and pledging support for their families.

“I am so glad the Governor came out to see our Soldiers,” said Carden. “In addition to making the environment safer for nursing homes, working in foodbanks, hospitals and performing COVID-19 testing, we are still fighting a war. That speaks to the agility and commitment of the men and women in our formation.”

The National Guard’s role in the COVID-19 response has drawn media attention across the United States highlighting the domestic role of the National Guard. At the same time, Georgia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue to provide support to overseas contingencies operations. The Georgia Air National Guard has Airmen deployed from both of its wings while the Georgia Army National Guard has mobilized Soldiers from all five of its brigades this year alone.

For decades, the Georgia National Guard has supported the citizens of Georgia during emergency response operations while supporting overseas combat missions. In 2005, the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team was mobilized in Iraq while the Georgia National Guard’s 78th Troop Command and Aviation Troop Command responded to Hurricane Katrina. During the response to Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, and Michael, thousands of Georgia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and State Defense Force Volunteers left their civilian jobs to help their fellow citizens and will continue to do so into the next decade.

“Your National Guard is ready, relevant and fully engaged at home and around the globe,” said Carden.

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