BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 9, 2005
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division has welcomed a new infantry battalion to its ranks. And, just like most of the units in the Fort Stewart-based division, the soldiers of this battalion are from Georgia.
However, most of these soldiers don't speak English.The 13th Infantry Battalion joins the 4th BCT from the country of Georgia, a former Soviet Republic located on the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia. ...In 2003, the battalion received advanced training and equipment from the U.S. Marine Corps.
The 13th Shavnabada Light Infantry Battalion was founded in 1992 in Southeast Georgia. The name "Shavnabada" means "black cloak" and comes from nearby Shavnabada Mountain where St. George is said to have appeared before his troops in a black cloak and lead them to victory.
Fast forward 6 months.
On May 24th Lt. Mikheil "Misha" Kutateladze was traveling with his U.S. counterparts when his vehicle was hit by an IED.
On Sunday, October 9, 2005, Ambassador Tefft Welcomes Home Georgia's 13th Battalion From Iraq. Ambassador Tefft remembered Lt. Kutateladze, a member of the 13th Battalion who is in Walter Reed Medical Center recovering from wounds suffered while serving in Iraq. Ambassador Tefft told the 13th Battalion "President Bush and Secretary Rice visited with [Lt. Kutateladze] and honored him for his service along with the service that you provided in Iraq."
Soldier From Nation Of Georgia Badly Wounded May 24 2005 (Itar-Tass) & UNA-Georgia Tbilisi has released information about the Georgian serviceman, who was heavily wounded in Iraq on Tuesday. Platoon commander Mikhail Kutateladze was sharing a car with American servicemen en route from Baghdad to Baquba, the Georgian Defense Ministry said. The car hit a handmade mine. Three American servicemen died, and Kutateladze was taken to hospital with multiple injuries.Pictures of Lt. Kutateladze and President Bush, Condi Rice. 07/05
Misha and his wife Thea (pronounce Tay'uh) have been residents of Malogne House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for many months, and he's not expected to be released until next spring. They miss their home in Sachkhere, GA, and being with people who speak their language. Most Georgians speak a little Russian, but very few Americans speak Georgian. At this time Misha's mobility is aided by a motorized wheelchair which he is undoubtedly wearing out. This is a man who likes to move!
Currently holding the rank of Sr. Lieutenant, Misha has been in the Georgian Army for 8 years. His deployment to Iraq as a platoon commander was his first experience in a war zone and he feels his "combat comrades" performed very well. He stays in contact with his fellow warriors who all returned home in good shape. Thea has been studying medicine for the last 5 years, but she feels kinda lost when it comes to applying her knowledge to helping her husband. Personally, I think Thea is a lot more capable than she gives herself credit for.
As much as they want to go home, I'm really glad they are here. Even though our conversations are mostly incomprehensible, I think they know how much Misha's sacrifice is appreciated by American supporters. I know the LT is getting the best medical care in the world at WRAMC and I'm very happy that we're taking such good care of our coalition troops.
Misha was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge which he shows with obvious pride. He believes in the mission to eliminate terrorism in the world and that the American and Georgian soldiers are heroes. Can't argue with that!
I'll continue to follow Misha's progress and post updates on this terrific couple.