For more information on the Georgia State Defense Force, go online at www.gasdf.com.
The Georgia State Defense Force has named one of Forsyth County's own to serve as the commander of its southern division.
Lt. Col. Bobby Anderson said he was surprised to hear of his promotion to 5th Brigade commander, which puts him in charge of four south Georgia battalions.
The defense force, which help in times of state emergencies, is made up of about 650 members statewide.
"It's to help fellow citizens of Georgia," said public affairs officer Maj. Eddie Williams. "We're just like you're neighbor. We're lawyers, clerks, physicians, anybody who wants to help their country."
Many members of the defense force, such as Anderson, also have military backgrounds. Anderson spent 1962-66 in the Army, serving in Germany and Korea, among other places.
He said his desire to serve again in some capacity was reignited following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
"After that, I knew I needed to do something to help," he said.
Anderson tells his troops to look within themselves for similar encouragement.
"Any time they start feeling that the defense force is a burden," he said, "I tell them to think back to the reason they joined."
The defense force trains once per month to stay ready for missions, which can vary.
"We conduct search and rescue, safety and defense and medical support," Williams said.
Anderson said each battalion is required to hold drills once monthly.
"[But] we are busier than one day a month because of the missions that come up," he said. "Every mission provides additional training opportunities on site."
Anderson, who has lived in Forsyth County since 1996, has previously served the defense force as plans and operations officer, personnel officer, executive officer and public affairs officer.