The Lewis County Historical Society met at 7 p.m. Monday, November 7, 2011 with several members and former members of the Tennessee Army National Guard Unit of Hohenwald attending.
1SG (Retired) Daniel B. Atkinson, former unit administrator of the local unit, presented a program on the history of the Hohenwald unit.
In 1978-79, talk was underway of placing a detachment to a medical unit somewhere in the state of Tennessee. Prominent citizens such as William T. Rasbury, Tommy J. Skelton, Phillip Griner, T. C. Carroll, Ronnie James, Dennis Whittenberg, Paul Spears, and 1SG Atkinson met with LTC Ashley Brown, 473rd Support Battalion Commander, asking for a unit to be put in Hohenwald.
LTC Brown advised them they would need full community support. Their answer was they had the support.
LTC Brown then carried a proposal to General Carl D. Wallace to move a 55 man possession to Hohenwald. The request was approved and a unit was to be formed in Hohenwald/Lewis County by June 1, 1980.
Three sites were then looked at for a location to put the unit with Hohenwald Memorial Park being chosen.
The first unit meeting was held June 1, 1980 with a total of eight members, James C. (Jim) Webb being the first enlistee and seven transferring from other units, and Capt. Donald H. Polk serving as commander and Atkinson as unit administrator.
The local unit then started at full pace, reaching 100 percent strength in ten months. Training of personnel was good with 80 percent trained in their capacity. Within five years, the unit was listed as one of the best medical units in the state of Tennessee.
Lewis County and the City of Hohenwald purchased the land on Highway 412 West in 1981-82 to build a home for the unit. The state of Tennessee could not get the new Armory building in the budget until 1986-87. In 1989, the new Armory was completed at a cost of 1.3 million dollars.
In 1987, the unit changed from Company B to Company C 473rd Support Battalion, Medical. During this time personnel of the unit were tested for performance and scored the highest in the nation for preformance of missions.
In 1993-94, the unit was reorganized from medical to maintenance because the state was doing away with all medical units. It is now Detachment 1, 771st Maintenance Company.
The unit was deployed to Iraq as a maintenance company. “A sad note is, we lost one in this war. Roger D. Rowe was a very good medic and truck driver,” Atkinson stated.
“The unit brings in approximately $250,000 a year to this community. It is one of the best in the state or nation. This unit in Lewis County and Hohenwald proves that ‘Working Together Can Get Results’,” Atkinson concluded.
presented to Historical Society