CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER, Marietta, Georgia, March 12, 2014, By 2LT Ted Burzynski – Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) soldiers assigned to Task Force Decatur during Operation Patriot Snowball III in Atlanta, Georgia February 10-16, 2014 were awarded the Georgia Commendation Medal. The medals were awarded by LTC Jonathan Adams, Commanding Officer of the 170th MP Battalion, Georgia Army National Guard for “responding to the call of the Governor of Georgia and rendering aid, assistance and support resulting in the saving of property and reduction of damages or suffering during Operation Patriot Snowball III.”
Task Force Decatur consisted of soldiers from the Georgia National Guard’s 170th Military Police Battalion and both the 1st and 5th Brigades of the GSDF. GSDF soldiers worked alongside the Georgia National Guard Soldiers performing the same tasks and in some cases provided skill sets to the operation that at the time were unavailable from any other source. These skills included: IT, Communications, Administration, Medical. In addition, plain ole’ rough and tough boots on the ground provided a necessary resource that led to success.
The GSDF Command team onsite consisted of 2LT Anazion Cordiero, SSG Earl Simmons and SFC Jay Tavares, all of whose professionalism and outstanding work ethic made the mission a stunning success. Staff positions in the TOC were augmented by many GSDF troops throughout the mission. Most notably SSG Amber Kimble and SSG Ted Burzynski working as a team kept the PERSTAT updated around the clock in real time maintaining constant accountability of GSDF troops in the field.
During the bulk of the mission GSDF EMR’s SSG Dennis Bell and CPL Ricardo Tapia were the only available trained medical personnel onsite at Decatur. Between the two of them worked around the clock supporting the mission with very little rest. Toward the very end of the mission support from other EMRs and the 132nd Medical Battalion were able to come in and provide much needed relief for the beleaguered EMRs.
IT and communications in the TOC were given a huge boost from GSDF soldiers PFC Kerry Hatcher, CPL Howard Seay and SGT Jonathan Hagler, who all worked around the clock maintaining and updating the operational status of the mission to both the SOC and JOC as well as continued uninterrupted communication to the troops in the field. PFC Hatcher was able to create real-time maps showing troop movements, fueling stations, warming stations in addition to secondary operational sites which proved invaluable to the Task Force Battle Captain in planning operations and tracking personnel locations.
The GSDF soldiers who received the Georgia Commendation Medal were recognized by the Task Force Decatur commander LTC Adams as an invaluable asset to the success of the mission as a force-multiplier to the mission. These soldiers were onsite and operational immediately upon being called up and worked endless shifts day and night throughout the week until the mission was complete.
In addition to utilizing their skill sets onsite during the mission every one of the troops recognized served as assistant drivers in tactical operations in the Atlanta area whenever they were needed.
The soldiers who received the Georgia Commendation Medal are as follows: 2LT Cordiero, SSG Simmons, SGT Booth, PVT Goins, SGT Vicknair, CPL Willis, SGT Morely, SSG Farmer, SSG Corrozza, PVT Long, SGT Hagler, SFC Tavares and SGT Kestle, SSG Bell, PFC Bowen, SSG Burzynski, SSG Kimble, CPT Lankford, LTC Chavis, LTC Moore, CPL Seay, CPL Wiggs, PFC Hatcher, SSG Stansell, CPL Tapia and SSG Bradley.
It should be noted and recognized that many other GSDF soldiers served on Operation Patriot Snowball III throughout Georgia proving that the GSDF is a valuable asset to the state of Georgia during a time of crisis and living up to the motto – Parati Servire “Ready to Serve.”