The 13,000-member Georgia National Guard welcomed a new leader Sunday during a traditional military ceremony at Atlanta's Fort McPherson. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue officiated over the ceremonial transfer of command as Maj. Gen. William T. (Terry) Nesbitt became the state’s 41st adjutant general.
The ceremony brought to an end the tenure of Lt. Gen. David B. Poythress who has been the adjutant general since 1999. Poythress, who previously served as Georgia’s secretary of state and labor commissioner, is retiring from the military to enter private business as the chief executive officer of American United Bancorp, Inc. in Gwinnett County.
More than 400 political, civic and military leaders attended the ceremony, which included military traditions including troop inspections, cannon firings and military march music. The ceremony also featured a flyover of eight helicopters and cargo airplanes representing the National Guard’s aviation units.
As adjutant general, Nesbitt 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 Georgia State Defense Force.
“General Nesbitt brings with him a wealth of knowledge and more than 40 years of military experience that have honed his leadership skills,” Perdue said. “He has demonstrated deep commitment and serious dedication to helping Georgia meet the challenges of the future.”
Nesbitt previously served as commander of the Georgia Army National Guard and in 2006 was appointed by Perdue as the director of Georgia’s Office of Homeland Security. Among his many military accomplishments, he commanded Joint Task Force G8, an organization of over 7,000 personnel from all services to conduct military support operations for the G8 Summit at Sea Island in June 2004.
Springfield’s Battery A, 1/118th Field Artillery of the Georgia Army National Guard is among more than 130 Georgia Army and Air National Guard units, the Georgia State Defense Force, and various programs and facilities which are part of the Georgia Department of Defense.