Gov. Nathan Deal has begun filling some of the blanks at the Georgia National Guard. From the Gainesville Times:
Gainesville native Joe Jarrard is Georgia’s new deputy adjutant general.
Gov. Nathan Deal named the retired lieutenant colonel to the post Friday, lauding Jarrard for his “long and distinguished history of service to the country,” including two active tours of duty in Iraq and 25 months of civilian service in Afghanistan….
Jarrard returned Tuesday from Afghanistan, where he was part of the Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team, formerly under the command of Gen. David Petraeus….
Deal’s appointment “came out of nowhere,” Jarrard said. “But I’m very honored and looking forward to the challenge. I’ve basically been a soldier most of my life, so it’s good to be back in that business.”
The press release issued by the governor’s office on Friday made no mention of the woman Jarrad will replace, Major Gen. Maria Britt, who resigned when the governor put an end to the four-year tenure of Maj. Gen. Terry Nesbitt as adjutant general. He will be replaced by state Sen. Jim Butterworth, a former Georgia air reservist.
The changing of the guard has become something of a soap opera. After his sacking, Nesbit dismissed Brig. Gen. Larry Dudney, which prompted this column from state Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler:
I grew up on Osteen Street in Port Wentworth, Ga.
Although my parents told me that for the first few years of my life we lived in the old Savannah Garden Apartments on President Street that have long been demolished, I don’t remember those times. My childhood memories start and end in Port Wentworth. And they are good memories.
Unlike those who have blocked out childhood memories because of ugly incidents or tragedies they don’t want to recall, I cherish mine. Good friends, a great neighborhood, loving parents- all the ingredients for a great place to grow up. As I grow older I realize even more how lucky I was to grow up in such a great place- extremely lucky.
I left home the day I turned 18- not out of teenage anger or because my parents kicked me out but it just happened to be the day I left to go off to college. After being away for five years at college, I returned with a beautiful bride and we chose to make Pooler our home. Again, luck shone upon me.
A few years ago, while I was representing West Chatham and South Effingham counties in the state House of Representatives, I was invited to a dinner in Atlanta honoring our state’s National Guard. I’m very familiar with this great organization as my first job was as a landscape engineer, a.k.a. grass cutter, at Travis Field during high school.
As fate would have it, I was joyously reunited that night with one of my childhood friends who also grew up on Osteen Street.
Larry Dudney, a red-headed, side armed pitcher who was the drummer at Port Wentworth Elementary School was there in uniform — the kind of uniform that a brigadier general for the Georgia Army National Guard wears.
Catching up with my childhood friend that night was quite a treat. Larry’s family had moved to Effingham County when he reached high school and we had lost contact since then so we had a lot of catching up to do.
After high school, Larry graduated from Georgia Southern University and also earned a degree from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. Larry is a true Georgian – a home-grown product.
Brig. Gen. Dudneys’ military career has been exemplary. He has served two combat tours overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Afghanistan tour he served as Commanding Officer of a NATO command.
He has also received two of the military’s highest awards while stateside, the Soldiers Medal and the Purple Heart.
Brig. General Dudney received the Purple Heart for the heroism he displayed on September 11, 2001. That fateful day, while he was on assignment at the Pentagon, terrorists flew a hijacked jet into the building. He was cited for his participation in the rescue- a true American hero who grew up on Osteen Street in Port Wentworth, GA.
Last week I got a call from my childhood friend and the news was not good. He had been fired from his position.
That’s right. This Georgia grown hero had been fired only a few days after he was the featured speaker in a ceremony welcoming the arrival of a portion of the Pentagon’s west wall to Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robbins.
It is well known that politics play a big part in the National Guard. The Governor appoints the Adjunct General who oversees the state Department of Defense and its 14,000 members. Recently, Governor Nathan Deal announced that he was appointing State Senator Jim Butterworth from Cornelia in Northeast Georgia to replace Major Gen. Terry Nesbitt at the end of September.
But earlier this week, Major Gen. Nesbitt started cleaning house and fired a number of high ranking officers while still others announced they were resigning, a sad ending to his four years at the helm of our state’s ultimate volunteer organization.
Now Governor Deal and Senator Butterworth have been put into a very unenviable situation that only they can bring reasonableness and fairness to. Let us hope that they do just that.
As for my childhood friend from Osteen Street in Port Wentworth, regardless of the outcome of all of this, you will always be one of our state’s and our nation’s heroes.
Former U.S. Rep. Pat Swindall has been sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to three misdemeanor counts of being involved in illegal campaign contributions. From the Associated Press:
The Daily Report says in its Friday edition that Swindall was sentenced on Aug. 26 in an alleged scheme to funnel $8,000 in campaign contributions to former Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd.
The newspaper reports that prosecutors agreed to drop felony charges in return for Swindall’s guilty pleas to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit a crime and two counts of exceeding the maximum allowable campaign contribution.
The sentence came after Swindall and prosecutors agreed to an “Alford plea,” a legal maneuver that lets Swindall maintain his innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence against him.
Swindall represented a suburban Atlanta district from 1985 to 1989. He later served one year in federal prison after he was convicted in 1992 of perjury.
ng>- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider