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Suwanee resident promoted to brigadier general

SUWANEE - Col. Jerry J. Bradford of Suwanee has been promoted to brigadier general and appointed commander of the 600-member Georgia State Defense Force, Maj. Gen. Terry Nesbitt, adjutant general for Georgia, recently announced.

Bradford is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a six-year member of the State Defense Force, an all-volunteer professional and uniformed force composed of trained military units capable of responding immediately to the needs of communities and civil authorities.

During Bradford's 30 years of combined active duty and reserve service, including two tours in Vietnam, a tour in central America and an extended tour in Europe and a Pentagon assignment, he has commanded battalion- and brigade-sized units and served in multiple battalion and brigade staff positions, including operations and training officer for the 95th Division.

Bradford is bilingual and earned his master's degree in business administration. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal with six combat stars.

Bradford replaced retiring Brig. Gen. Mike McGuinn, who served in the State Defense Force for more than 18 years and whose Army career spanned service in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. The official change of command took place Nov. 9 during annual training at Fort Stewart.

Georgia's State Defense Force is the third leg of the Georgia Department of Defense, which also includes the Georgia Army National Guard and the Georgia Air National Guard.