22 Sep 2023

Brig. Gen. Dennis Watts Sworn In As New Commanding General of the Georgia State Defense Force

Brig. Gen. Dennis Watts Sworn In As New Commanding General of the Georgia State Defense Force

22 Sep 2023 - Staff

During an assumption of command ceremony on Sept. 22, 2023, Brig. Gen. Dennis Watts became the newest Georgia State Defense Force commanding general.

The ceremony was held at Volunteer Training Site, Catoosa. Attendees included: Adjutant General of Georgia Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Carden Jr.; Joe Ferrero, Deputy Adjutant General; Maj. Gen. Dwayne Wilson, Assistant Adjutant General; GANG CSM John Ballenger, State Command Sergeant Major; Neal Van Marter, Representative for U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff; Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, 32nd Senate District; Sen. Chuck Payne, 54th Senate District; Rep. Mike Cameron, Georgia House District 1; Mitchell Horner, Georgia House District 3; Brig. Gen. Jerry Bradford, Retired, GSDF Commanding General; Brig. Gen. Louis Coroso, Retired, GSDF Deputy Commanding General; and Brig. Gen.Thomas Danielson, Retired, GSDF Commanding General.

“Our organization relies heavily on our professional volunteers in the Georgia State Defense Force,” Maj. Gen. Thomas, the Adjutant General of Georgia, said. “I am confident that (Brig. Gen.) Watts will help continue the outstanding tradition of service that has been emblematic of our Georgia State Defense Force since its inception.”

Brig. Gen. Watts earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Georgia State University and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in March 1980. Brig. Gen. Watts served 12 years on active duty and eight years in the Reserves.

U.S. Army Service

He graduated from the Infantry Officers Basic Course, Ft. Benning, Ga., Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Ft. Benning, Ga., Combined Arms Services Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., and the Marine Corps Institute and GASDF Command and Staff Course. Additionally, he completed Airborne School (1977), Air Assault School (1980), Ranger School (1980), Infantry Mortar Platoon Officers Course (1980), and the French Commando School in Berlin (1981). Brig. Gen. Watts earned his Expert Infantry Badge in 1981 and the GASDF Search and Rescue Badge in 2009. Brig. Gen. Watts’ first assignment was as Infantry Platoon Leader, Company B, 4th Battalion 6th Infantry, Berlin Brigade.

Moreover, he served as 81 MM Mortar Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer for B Company. Then, he was assigned as Assistant S-3 Air, 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 24th Infantry Division Mechanized, at Ft. Stewart, Ga. Subsequently, he commanded A Company 2/21st Infantry, moved to serve as 1st Brigade Assistant S-3, and then Commanded HHC 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry Division. Next, he served five rotations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., as both a staff officer and company commander. In 1988, he served as Plans and Operations Officer for Headquarters Cadet Command, Ft. Monroe, Va.

GSDF Service

Brig. Gen. Watts joined the GSDF in March 2005 and was most recently GSDF Commanding General. Previously, he was Commander of GSDF Training and Doctrine Command.

His awards and decorations include the Army Meritorious Service Medal (2), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal Berlin, NDSM, ASR. While serving in the GSDF, he received the GSDF Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, and Achievement Medal.

“It’s always about service, and never about self,” Brig. Gen. Watts said during the ceremony. “I’m a believer that if you join any organization, you want to make it better than you found it.”

Brig. Gen. Watts lives in Athens with his wife, Betty.

“I’m really proud to be a member of the GSDF and extremely honored to lead the organization,” Brig. Gen. Watts said.