These “weekend warriors,” who travel to the Douglasville Armory each month for drills, are members of the Georgia Army National Guard Alpha Troop 3, 108th Cavalry, nicknamed the “Apache” unit.
The Douglasville Armory, which many suggest is the second oldest in Georgia, may have operated in Douglasville as early as 1952, according to 1st Sgt. John Ballenger.
The armory on Church Street was the scene Jan. 12 of its first drills after closing for major renovations in late 2010, according to Staff Sgt. Jeremy Davison, whose civilian job is a medic in the emergency room at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
The unit returned from a 12-month deployment in Kosovo in late September as part of a multi-national NATO mission.
From 2005 to 2006, some of the members who had been part of the 48th Brigade were deployed to Iraq, while others were sent to Afghanistan in 2009, according to Sgt. 1st Class Jess Heglund.
Called “a work in progress,” the armory has undergone major renovations, said Col. Thomas Carden.
“This will give us a lot of opportunity,” said Carden, “having the infrastructure already in place. The state of Georgia has an investment in this place, as well as the federal government.”
He explained that the armory is an important part of the community and contributes to both the state and local tax base, as well as creating jobs.
Alpha Troop 3, 108th Cavalry, is a reconnaissance and surveillance unit, explained Davison, which he described in civilian terms as “the commander’s eyes where they go out and find the enemy.”
Currently, there are 43 part-time guardsmen in the Douglasville unit, which is staffed full time by Staff Sgt. Charles Lancaster, readiness officer and training NCO, and Staff Sgt. Rodrigo Mondaca, the supply sergeant, who handles logistics.
“The community needs to know that the armory is available for use,” explained Mondaca.
The armory is also home to Georgia Army National Guard recruiters, Staff Sgt. Colt Mayfield and Sgt. 1st Class Roger Roseberry.
Heglund, who has been in the Douglasville unit since 2001, and Davison, who has been with the unit since 1995, were amazed at the transformation
“This is the first time I’m seeing this place since the renovation,” said Heglund. “I am astonished.”
New paint, additional storage space, a new kitchen, classroom space and wi-fi are some of the armory’s facelift..
“We are here to support the town and community,” said Ballenger.