Photo: Gov. Sonny Perdue (center) rides on a World War II-era Jeep during Sunday’s ceremony changing command of the Georgia National Guard. Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt (right) assumed leadership of the 13,000 members of the Georgia Army and Air National Guard, and Georgia State Defense Force during the ceremony at Fort McPherson. He takes the reins of command from Lt. General David B. Poythress (left) who has been Georgia’s Adjutant General since 1999. Poythress is retiring following a 44 year military career.
The 13,000-member Georgia National Guard welcomed a new leader on Sunday during a traditional military ceremony at Atlanta’s Fort McPherson.
Gov. Sonny Perdue officiated over the ceremonial transfer of command as Major General William T. (Terry) Nesbitt became the state’s 41st Adjutant General.
The ceremony brought to an end the tenure of Lt. General 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 forty 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 Group of Eight Summit at Sea Island in June 2004.
- submitted by Georgia National Guard