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Georgia State Defense Force Makes History in Governors Twenty Competition

The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) has much to celebrate following its remarkable performance in the Governors Twenty Marksmanship Competition. Special honor goes to 2nd Lt. John Bowers, who distinguished himself by earning the Governors Twenty in both rifle and pistol categories—a first for any GSDF soldier. His achievement was celebrated by GSDF Col. Don Lankford during the award ceremony at Fort Stewart, Georgia, between September 6-11. Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Ford also shined, receiving the Excellence in Competition, an honor equivalent to the Civilian Marksmanship Program. This performance builds on past successes; in 2019, GSDF Staff Sgt. Jon Van Holm also secured the Governors 20, albeit in the pistol category only.

Col. Don Lankford had the additional honor of presenting newly minted 5th Brigade coins to participating GSDF soldiers during the competition. Warrant Officer 2 Jakob Raven and Staff Sgt. Troy Mayfield, both of the Georgia Army National Guard, as well as GSDF’s Staff Sgt. Stephanie Williams were also recipients of these special coins. The tokens are engraved with significant emblems and names of military installations that the 5th Brigade actively supports, such as Fort Stewart, Fort Moore, and Fort Eisenhower. They also feature symbols representing units like the Georgia Army National Guard Element, Army National Guard Element, Joint Force HQ, the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 201st Regional Support Group, and the 54th Security Force Assistance Brigade.

The achievements of GSDF soldiers in these competitions not only showcase individual skills and talents but also reflect the organization’s dedication to excellence and readiness. It further cements the GSDF’s role in complementing the Georgia Army National Guard and other military units in serving the state and the nation. The 5th Brigade coins and the Governors Twenty awards exemplify the high standards of marksmanship, professionalism, and teamwork within the Georgia State Defense Force.

Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) involvement in the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition (ASMC) began with Georgia Army National Guard Warrant Officer 2 Jakob Raven and GSDF Col. Don Lankford (center).

 

 

 

 

 

 


Georgia Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Carden Jr. speaks to troops during the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition (ASMC), Fort Stewart, Ga., Sept. 6 – 11.


Soldiers from the Georgia Army National Guard and the Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) participate in the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition, Fort Stewart, Ga., Sept. 6 – 11.
The GSDF is an unarmed component of the Georgia Department of Defense. Weapons are used for training, sanctioned competitions, or other authorized purpose.
(Georgia State Defense Force photos by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Hernandez)

 


Sunrays pierce the sky as a Soldier aims at a target during the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition (ASMC) held at Fort Stewart, Ga., Sept. 6 – 11, 2023.

 

 

 

 

 


The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) team runs the distance before taking a firing position during the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition, Fort Stewart, Ga., Sept. 6 – 11.
Shown: The GSDF Team, 2nd Lt. John Bowers, Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Ford, Spc. Tom Peters, and Pfc. Scott Lawler. Also shown: Georgia Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Troy Mayfield.
The GSDF is an unarmed component of the Georgia Department of Defense. Weapons are used for training, sanctioned competitions, or other authorized purpose.

 


Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Col. Don Lankford congratulates 2nd Lt. John Bowers (left), who earned the Governors 20—for both rifle and pistol—during the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition held at Fort Stewart, Ga., Sept. 6 -11.
In 2019, GSDF Staff Sgt. Jon Van Holm earned the Governors 20 in one category (pistol). 2nd Lt. Bowers is the only GSDF Soldier to have tabbed in two categories—a GSDF first!
Congratulations, 2nd Lt. Bowers!
HOOAH for the entire GSDF team!

 


Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Col. Don Lankford presented newly designed 5th Brigade coins to GSDF Soldiers participating in the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition, Sept. 11, 2023.
COL Lankford also presented coins to Warrant Officer 2 Jakob Raven and Staff Sgt. Troy Mayfield, both of the Georgia Army National Guard, and to Staff Sgt. Stephanie Williams of the GSDF.
One side of the coin is engraved with Fort Stewart, Fort Moore, and Fort Eisenhower—military installations that the 5th Brigade supports. The other side of the coin includes emblems for the Georgia Army National Guard Element, Army National Guard Element, Joint Force HQ, the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 201st Regional Support Group, and the 54th Security Force Assistance Brigade.

 


Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Col. Don Lankford congratulates Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Ford, who earned the Excellence in Competition badge (the Civilian Marksmanship Program equivalent) during the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition, Fort Stewart, Ga., Sept. 6 – 11.
Georgia Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Troy Mayfield (far left) joins Col. Lankford, who thanks GSDF Soldiers (shown) participating in the ASMC.

The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) congratulates Governors 20 recipients (among Soldiers shown below), including GSDF’s very own . , (second from right). 2nd Lt. Bowers tabbed in both rifle and pistol.
GSDF . . earned Excellence in Competition (the Civilian Marksmanship Program equivalent).
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