It’s great that the armory will continue to serve our community

Published 6:17 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I was delighted to read in last Wednesday’s edition about the city’s plans to proceed with the purchase of the Marvin Griffin National Guard Armory. It will be a valuable asset, serving the needs of the community for years to come. It will also be an ongoing reminder of the dedication of citizens of Bainbridge, Decatur County and southwest Georgia, who served their country in units of the Georgia National Guard based in this building and its predecessor more than nearly three-quarters of a century and a half-dozen or more conflicts.

I also appreciate The Post-Searchlight’s editorial endorsement of the acquisition, especially given that former Gov. Marvin Griffin, for whom the building was named, was editor and publisher of the newspaper for nearly 40 years and continued to write regular weekly columns until his death in 1982.

There are some inaccuracies in the biographical data on Griffin, attributed to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, included in the article. After graduating from The Citadel, Griffin held a commission in the U.S. Army Reserve, but he resigned his Army Reserve commission in 1940 and enlisted in the Georgia National Guard, not in the U.S. Army. He was commissioned a captain in the Georgia National Guard and raised Battery D of the 101st Separate Battalion, Coast Artillery/Anti-Aircraft, from among citizens of Decatur and surrounding counties.

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It was headquartered here in Bainbridge, before it went into federal service in February 1941. The 101st landed in Port Moresby, New Guinea, in May 1942. Griffin served 30 months in New Guinea and was battalion commander when he returned in late 1944 to become Adjutant General and begin the process of reorganizing the Guard for peacetime status as the war’s end approached.

Bainbridge was also the home of another Georgia National Guard unit. An anti-tank unit of the 121st Infantry, commanded by Capt. Emmett R. “Slim” Culbreath, was raised here and also went into federal service before World War II. Members of that unit served with distinction in Europe.

The building has served Decatur Countians and the Guard well during its military lifetime. It’s nice to know it will continue to serve.


Sam M. Griffin Jr.