National Guard

 
April - Today in Guard History
April 1
A View of the Landing (of) the New England Forces in yee Expedition against Cape Breton, 1745"A View of the Landing (of) the New England Forces in yee Expedition against Cape Breton, 1745", a hand-colored copper plate etching by an unknown artist, circa 1750. Note it show the troops dressed in red uniforms like British regulars when in fact there was little uniformity among the different militia units.
Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

1745At Sea - A fleet consisting of 19 transport ships escorted by 13 armed merchant vessels is carrying a total of 4,220 colonial militiamen toward Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The goal of this expedition is the capture of the largest fort in North America, the fortress of Louisbourg. It was built and garrisoned by the French to protect the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and French Canada. This massive stone fort protected a sheltered harbor which held French raiders who, since England and France entered into war in 1741, had preyed upon British and American fishing and merchant fleets. But when the English refused to aid the American colonies in ridding themselves of this threat the colonies decided to act on their own. An army was organized from the militia of four New England colonies, Massachusetts (which also included present day Maine), Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Colonel William Pepperrell of Maine was selected to command the entire force (army and navy) with the rank of lieutenant general. While several colonies had in the past joined forces to fight a common enemy, usually Native Americans rather than Europeans, never before had they launched such an ambitious expedition. Landing his troops in early May the siege lasted until the end of June before the French garrison surrendered. The Americans were justly proud of their achievement, and dismayed when Louisbourgwas returned to the French as part of the peace treaty ending the war in 1748.

April 3
Sergeant J. Letzing, Company E, 104th Infantry (MA), 26th Division talks with his German prisonerSergeant J. Letzing, Company E, 104th Infantry (MA), 26th Division talks with his German prisoner, the first enemy soldier captured by any American soldier in World War I. Note Letzing is wearing a French Croix de Guerre Medal awarded for his valor in capturing this man on a raid in the Toul Boucq Sector.
Massachusetts Military Museum

1918Toul Boucq, France - The 26th Division (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) takes command of this sector on the southern side of the St. Michiel salient from the U.S. 1st Division. Within days the soldiers of the "Yankee" Division are engaged in minor but bloody actions against the Germans. The 26th is the first Guard (and second American) division to enter combat in World War I.

April 4

1968Various Cities, Nationwide - Upon learning of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, TN, more than 125 African American communities in 14 states and Washington, DC erupted into mob violence and arson. Sporadic sniper fire in several cities caused Guardsmen to return fire, especially in Chicago and Kansas City, MO. Tear gas was used almost everywhere trouble broke out, with heavy usage in DC and Baltimore. Over the six days of rioting nearly 50,000 Guardsmen served on active state duty, the largest peacetime call up of its kind in history. Of this number about 5,000 were Air Guard personnel used to support operations by moving men and supplies to the troubled areas. No Guardsmen killed any civilian, though several suspected as snipers were wounded. And no Guard personnel were killed though a number were injured. Federal and state government officials praised the Guard for its "soldierly conduct, discipline, restraint, dignity, professionalism and humanity."

Lt. Col. and Governor Leslie JensenLt. Col. and Governor Leslie Jensen

1937South Dakota - Lt. Col. and Governor Leslie Jensen took command of the 2d Battalion, 147th Field Artillery in South Dakota on this date in 1937. Jensen was an interesting soldier with a long and distinguished career in both politics and the National Guard. As a young man he was a cadet at Culver Military Academy. He had been the Regimental Supply Officer for the 4th South Dakota Infantry on the Mexican Border in 1916-17, and Adjutant of the 147th Field Artillery in France during WW I. In 1936 he was elected Governor of South Dakota as a Republican. As both battalion commander and Governor from 1937-1939, Jensen for two years had the unique distinction of being his own Commander in Chief. While there may have been some conflict of interest in this unusual arrangement, the legality of it was never challenged. When the 147th Field Artillery was called to active duty in 1940 he went with the regiment to Fort Ord, Calif. as the Regimental Executive Officer. He succeeded to command of the 147th Field Artillery and as a colonel led the unit in the South Pacific in World War II. The unit had left Pearl Harbor on November 30th and was on the way to the Philippines on December 7, 1941. After the Japanese attack the unit was diverted to Darwin, Australia. Jensen continued in command until 1944 when he became a senior staff officer in Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger’s Sixth Army. After the war Jensen returned to Hot Springs, SD to resume management of his family-owned telephone company.

April 5
Lt. Col. and Governor Leslie JensenIn a rare early war Philippine Theater photo gunners of New Mexico's 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) are shown standing by one of their guns waiting for the next Japanese air attack.
National Archives and Records Administration

1942Bataan Peninsula, Luzon, Philippines - The Japanese Army begins its last push to break the American defenses that have held up their capture of this strategic position. Among the defenders are Guardsmen from New Mexico's 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) and the composite 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions. These latter units were organized by combining the single tank companies that were assigned to each infantry division in the peacetime Guard. The 192nd combined companies from IL, KY, OH, WI; the 194th consisted of companies from MN and MO. All of the men not killed in the fighting became prisoners of the Japanese and took part in the infamous "Bataan Death March." Many of those who did not die in this march died later during the three years they held as prisoners of war.

April 6
The lineage of the 9th Illinois is carried today by the 130th Infantry, Illinois Army National Guard. Painting by Keith Rocco for the National Guard BureauSoldiers of the 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry held their ground despite repeated Confederate attacks on the first day of combat at Shiloh. The lineage of the 9th Illinois is carried today by the 130th Infantry, Illinois Army National Guard. Painting by Keith Rocco for the National Guard Bureau.
Heritage Series

1862Pittsburg Landing, TN - Confederate forces composing the Army of the Mississippi under the command of General Albert S. Johnston launch a surprise attack against the Union Army of West Tennessee commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant. To buy time as he hastily organized a defensive position around a small church called "Shiloh Meeting House" near the Tennessee River. Grant ordered some of his brigades to hold the outer perimeter at all costs. One such brigade, composed of the 9th, 12th and 15th Illinois Volunteer infantry regiments made a stand along a tree line beside a field soon to gain fame as the "Peach Orchard." For more than an hour this brigade blunted numerous Confederate attacks before finally being compelled to withdraw. Though it suffered heavy losses, their sacrifice allowed enough time for northern commanders to hold back the rebel attacks. With reinforcements arriving by steamboats the night of the 6th Grant went on the attack on the 7th. After a second day of bloody combat, Grant won a clear and decisive victory, the first major Union success of the war. He would continue to win victories until finally accepting the Confederate surrender at Appomattox in 1865. Grant, who early in the war served as a Brigadier General in the Illinois militia, was elected as 18th President of the United States in 1868.

One of several types of National Guard recruiting posters from World War IOne of several types of National Guard recruiting posters from World War I. The "Uncle Sam" character was developed at the outbreak of the war and employed in various ways such as knocking out the German Kaiser. The U.S. government did not sponsor this advertising campaign, instead the "Publicity Committee-Citizens Preparedness Association" paid for it.National Guard Education Foundation

1917Washington, DC - At the request of President Woodrow Wilson Congress votes to declare war against Germany and Austria-Hungary (known as the "Central Powers") bringing the United States into World War I. Though the war had started in August 1914, Wilson tried to keep America neutral. However several German provocations pushed the U.S. closer to joining Britain, France and Russia against the Central Powers. In 1915 the passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine, killing 128 Americans. And there were numerous reports (mostly found to be false after the war) of atrocities committed against the civilians in territories occupied by the Germans. The final straw was the interception of the "Zimmerman Telegram" sent by the Germans to the Mexican government asking that in the event of war between the U.S. and Germany, that Mexico enter on Germany's side, effectively tying down large numbers of American troops along the border who could not be sent to Europe to fight. Mexico's reward for its assistance was the promise of the restoration of territory ‘lost' to the U.S. in Mexican War. Wilson felt he had no choice but to declare war. The impact on some Guard units was immediate. A number of units were still on active duty from their tour of duty along the Mexican border dating from 1916. These units were retained on duty and many were dispatched to guard important facilities and structures such as bridges, electrical plants, coal fields, rail and ship yards, etc. from enemy sabotage. Soon those units not on active duty began to be called incrementally into federal service. The biggest problem was lack of enough camp space to house and train the hundreds of thousands of men needed for the war. The mobilization would continue through the spring and summer before all Guard units were on active duty. While waiting to be called they all vigorously recruited as many new men as possible to obtain war time strength. In all the National Guard contributed 379,701 men to the war effort. They were organized into 18 divisions and numerous non-divisional units such as coast artillery for home land defense.

April 7

1712Hancock's Fort, NC - South Carolina's Colonel John Barnwell, commanding a combined white militia and friendly Indian force numbering about 300 men, again besieges this main encampment of the hostile Tuscarora Indians. The Tuscarora's had launched a surprise attacks in September 1711, killing about 130 colonists, prompting North Carolina to ask Virginia and South Carolina for help. Barnwell's army was composed mostly of South Carolina militia. He had besieged the hostiles' fort in March but agreed to a truce after the Indians began torturing their captives within earshot of the militia. The Tuscarora failed to honor part of their agreement. Barnwell maintained the siege for ten days, finally forcing the Indians to surrender. All captives were freed and other conditions were met bringing the Tuscarora War to close.

April 8
Oklahoma's Battery B, 189th Field Artillery, 45th Infantry Division fires its 155mm howitzers on a mission to help stem the Communist Chinese assault.Oklahoma's Battery B, 189th Field Artillery, 45th Infantry Division fires its 155mm howitzers on a mission to help stem the Communist Chinese assault.National Archives and Records Administration

1952North of Yonchon, South Korea - Divisional artillery of the 45th Infantry Division fire support missions helping the men of the "Thunderbird Division" to repel human wave attacks launched by Communists Chinese troops. This division, composed entirely of Guard units from Oklahoma, along with the 40th Infantry Division from California and Nevada are the only two Guard divisions to serve in Korea during the war. After stateside and continued advanced training in Japan each deployed forward elements to Korea in December 1951 and January 1952 (respectively). Both were completely engaged in combat operations by the end of January.

Brigadier General Roberta V. Mills.Brigadier General Roberta V. Mills.National Guard Bureau Historical Collection

1992Nashville, TN - Colonel Roberta V. Mills, who was appointed in February 1991 as the first Air Guard Nursing Assistant to the Chief, Air Force Nurse Corps, becomes the first woman in the National Guard to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general. The Army Guard's first woman general officer will be appointed in June 1992.

April 9

1865Appomattox Court House, - Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders those men, about 25,000 in all, still in the Army of Northern Virginia to Union commander, General Ulysses S. Grant. While some fighting would continue in places such as Alabama and Texas for the next month, with Lee's surrender, the war is effectively over. Grant, who commanded the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry at the start of the war, would become the 18th president of the United States in 1869.

1942 BATAAN, Philippine Islands: The Bataan Peninsula in the Philippine Islands is surrendered, after four months of fending off a much larger and better-equipped Japanese force. Over 11,000 American and 60,000 Filipino soldiers, a great many of them federalized National Guard Soldiers defending the strategic point in the Islands, the largest surrender of forces in American military history.

Saddled with inferior weapons, lack of equipment, food shortages, and ill-supplied after the initial December 8, 1941, assault on the Philippines, the heroic defense of Bataan and Corregidor that served to defend the capital city of Manila delayed the Japanese military advance in the Pacific.

National Guard units called into federal service in the Pacific theater of operations in 1940-1941 made up key elements of the force. The 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments of the New Mexico National Guard arrived in fall 1941, along with the First Provision Tank Group. This consisted of companies from the 192nd Tank Battalion that hailed from the Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin National Guards, as well as the 194th Tank Battalion sourced from Minnesota and California National Guard companies.

After this event, the captured Americans and Filipinos were subjected to barbaric conditions while being first led on what has become known as the "Bataan Death March" en route to Camp O'Donnell, the prisoner of war camp 60 miles from Bataan.

Soldiers from the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, New Mexico National Guard, pictured with anti-aircraft artillery gun during Bataan campaign being fought in the Philippines in early 1942.  Photo by National Archives. Statue of Bataan Death March walkers, located at Veterans Memorial Park, Las Cruces, N.M. This monument, the first nationally-funded shrine to the Death March, was dedicated in April 2002, and displays actual footprints of Bataan survivors.
Soldiers from the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, New Mexico National Guard, pictured with anti-aircraft artillery gun during Bataan campaign being fought in the Philippines in early 1942.  Photo by National Archives. Statue of Bataan Death March walkers, located at Veterans Memorial Park, Las Cruces, N.M. This monument, the first nationally-funded shrine to the Death March, was dedicated in April 2002, and displays actual footprints of Bataan survivors. Photo by Linda Douglass, IMCOM.
SPC Michelle Witmer.SPC Michelle Witmer.The OnGuard, May 2004

2004Iraq - Specialist Michelle Witmer, a member of the Wisconsin's Army Guard's 32nd Military Police Company, is the first female Guard member killed in combat since women were authorized to join the Guard in 1956. She was one of three sisters all serving in the Wisconsin Army Guard. One sister was in the same unit and the third was in a medical unit, both also serving in Iraq. After Michelle's death, the other two were given the choice of reassignment to a station in the United States (under surviving sibling statute.) Both refused and returned to their units in Iraq after the funeral. Previously one Air Guard woman mobilized during the Vietnam crisis in 1968 died on active duty in a non-mission related accident. In 1990-1991 a total of eight mobilized Army Guard women died during Operations Desert Shield/Storm. But again, all died from accidents, none until Witmer lost their lives in combat.

April 11
Emblem of the 840th Bombardment Squadron as approved by the Army January 12, 1944. It was retained by the 128th Fighter Squadron for use on its aircraft after the war.Emblem of the 840th Bombardment Squadron as approved by the Army January 12, 1944. It was retained by the 128th Fighter Squadron for use on its aircraft after the war.
Original Heraldic Artwork from the National Guard Education Foundation Collection

1942Sterparone Airfield, Italy - Flight crews of the 840th Bombardment Squadron begin their first combat missions flying B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in support of the Allied armies fighting in Europe. This squadron, formerly the 128th Observation Squadron, Georgia National Guard, was activated in May 1941 and spent two years flying antisubmarine patrols along the U.S. Gulf Coast before being re-equipped and retrained on B-17's. Once it enters combat the squadron, assigned to the 483rd Bombardment Group, bombs targets such as oil refineries, marshalling yards, airfields, bridges, gun emplacements and troop concentrations. During its time in combat it flew missions over Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia and Greece. In all the squadron earned 12 campaign streamers and two Distinguished (today known as Presidential) Unit Citations. Today the lineage of the 128th/840th is carried by Georgia's 128th Air Control Squadron, flying Boeing E-8C Joint Stars aircraft as part of a "Blended Wing" of Air Guard and active Air Force allowing the Air Force to monitor ground operations and direct air strike missions in support of the Army.

April 12
First Lieutenant Ernest Childers receives his Medal of Honor from Lieutenant General Jacobs L. Devers, at a special awards ceremony in Naples, Italy.First Lieutenant Ernest Childers receives his Medal of Honor from Lieutenant General Jacobs L. Devers, at a special awards ceremony in Naples, Italy.
National Archives and Records Administration

1944Naples, Italy - Second Lieutenant Ernest Childers, Company C, 180th Infantry (OK), 45th Infantry Division (AZ, CO, NM, OK) receives his Medal of Honor from Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers, the U.S. Army's Deputy commander for the Mediterranean Theater. Childers, a full-blood Creek Indian, joined the Oklahoma Guard in 1937, rising to the rank of first sergeant by the time the 180th landed in Sicily in July 1943. He earned a battlefield commission to second lieutenant during this campaign. He remained with his company when it landed at Anzio, Italy, on September 13th. While leading his men near Oliveto, Italy, on September 22, 1943, he earned the Medal for single-handedly capturing two machine gun nests, killing at least five enemy soldiers and then captured a German mortar observer, all with a fractured ankle! After World War II Childers remained in the Army, obtaining the rank of lieutenant colonel before his retirement in 1965. He died in 2003. He is the only Native American Guardsman to earn the nation's highest award for valor.

Members of the Indiana Rangers await their 'ride' into hostile territory by a UH-1 'Huey' helicopter. This was their normal mode of transportation in and out of action during their one year tour in Vietnam.Members of the Indiana Rangers await their 'ride' into hostile territory by a UH-1 'Huey' helicopter. This was their normal mode of transportation in and out of action during their one year tour in Vietnam
National Guard Education Foundation

1944Camp Atterbury East, Vietnam - Members of Company D (Long Range Patrol), 151st Infantry, known as the "Indiana Rangers" are conducting continuous reconnaissance missions in support of Headquarters, II Field Force. The teams, usually consisting of five to eight men, are inserted and extracted by helicopter deep into enemy territory. During one such operation on this date Sergeant Robert T. Smith becomes the second and (and last) Indiana Guard member to be killed in action. In February the first, Specialist Four Charles K. Larkins, was killed in an enemy ambush soon after his team had been inserted. Smith, while moving his team toward their extraction point at the end of their patrol, was hit by an enemy rifle fire. He lived long enough to give suppressing fire while the rest of his team sought cover. The last Guard member of the unit to die in Vietnam was First Lieutenant George L. Kleiber who was killed in a non-combat related helicopter crash. Besides the three Indiana Guardsmen killed in Vietnam, four non-Guard members of the unit also died. This unit set one of the most impressive combat records, and had its personnel earn more individual awards for valor, than almost any comparably-sized unit operating in Vietnam.

April 13
Former Air Guard pilots and Apollo 13 astronauts, John Former Air Guard pilots and Apollo 13 astronauts, John "Jack" Swigert (left, suiting up) and Frederick Haise helped to bring their crippled spacecraft home to a safe landing.National Aeronautics and Space Administration

1970Space - "Houston, We've Had A Problem!" is a message that could have been the NASA's worst nightmare, three astronauts lost in space. The man who said it, former Air Guard Captain John "Jack" Swigert was one of three crew members of the ill-fated Apollo 13 heading for a Moon landing. Along with him was another former Air Guard pilot, Captain Frederick Haise, Jr. Both Guardsmen joined NASA as test pilots before becoming astronauts. Swigert had flown in both the Massachusetts and Connecticut ANG while Haise had served in the Oklahoma and Ohio ANG. As a member of the 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron (OH), he served on active duty during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. The Apollo 13 crew over came their malfunctions and returned to Earth safely. In a later interview Swigert credited his time with the Guard as some of the best flying experience he ever had. For example, he had to make a "dead stick" (no power) landing after his engine flamed out. He said that he was trained to react coolly and with deliberate purpose, just the kind of preparation he needed to bring the crippled Apollo 13 home.

April 14
President Abraham Lincoln.President Abraham Lincoln. Painting by Chet JezierskiPresidential Series

1865Washington, DC - President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated just five days after Lee's surrender effectively ends the Civil War. Lincoln had served as a volunteer in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War in 1832, though the war ended before he saw any combat. He was quickly elected captain by his men, a moment of pride he spoke of often in later life.

2001Camp Robinson, AR - Senior Airman Jennifer Donaldson becomes the first female graduate from the Air Guard's Counter-Sniper School. She was a member of the Air Security Detachment of Illinois' 183rd Fighter Wing.

April 15
Members of the 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry waiting to go home, taken near Caloocan, Luzon, Philippines in April 1899.Members of the 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry waiting to go home, taken near Caloocan, Luzon, Philippines in April 1899.National Archives and Records Administration

1889Washington, DC - The Adjutant General of the Army, Major General Henry Corbin notifies Major General of Volunteers Elwell Otis, commander of American forces fighting the insurgents in the Philippines, that the governors of three states, Minnesota, Nebraska and Washington have requested the return of their state volunteers from overseas service. When America declared war against Spain in April 1898, it was to remove Spanish rule from Cuba, allowing the people of that island to govern themselves. Nothing was said of the other Spanish colonies including the Philippine Islands. The Spanish were quickly defeated in the Philippines by an American army largely composed of state regiments drawn from uniformed volunteers (forerunners of the modern National Guard) from 17 states. The U.S. government then decided to annex the islands. This caused an uprising against American rule which began in February 1899. Known as the "Philippine Insurrection" it proved to be far more bloody to U.S. forces than any combat against the Spanish had been. Many soldiers in the ranks and their families at home were upset because the men had volunteered to fight for Cuban independence, not American colonization of the Philippines. During this spring, while offensive operations continued against the insurgents and American losses mounted, the men of each volunteer regiment were asked to extend their tour of service. Enough men volunteered to stay to allow for the organization of two new U.S. volunteer regiments. The state regiments began leaving the Philippines for home in May with the last units sailing in August. To get some idea of how ferocious the Insurrection was, out of all the Spanish possessions that state volunteers served in (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines) only one Guardsman, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, earned the Medal of Honor during the war against Spain. But 15 Guardsmen earned it fighting in the Philippine Insurrection.

April 16
Texas National Guard Cavalry Medal. Around its outer edge reads 'Awarded By Congress For Service-Texas Cavalry' The drape (ribbon) is yellow, green and has a white center stripe). Made by the U.S. mint only about 1,000 were actually issued.Texas National Guard Cavalry Medal. Around its outer edge reads 'Awarded By Congress For Service-Texas Cavalry' The drape (ribbon) is yellow, green and has a white center stripe). Made by the U.S. mint only about 1,000 were actually issued.National Guard Education Foundation

1992Washington, DC - Congress authorizes the issuing of the "Texas Cavalry Service Medal" to those men who served in two brigades of Texas National Guard cavalry during World War I. After the entire existing National Guard was mobilized into federal service in August 1917, Texas was authorized by the War Department to organize these brigades within its National Guard structure in December 1917. The members of these brigades, all of whom spent the entire war patrolling the Texas/Mexican border, were ineligible to receive the World War I "Victory Medal" because they did not serve in the active Army. This medal is the first and only time Congress has approved a decoration for the Guardsmen of only one specific state. Of the 4,000 struck by the U.S. mint, less 1,000 were ever applied for and issued.

April 18
Battle of Cerro Gordo (Mex), April 17-18, 1847."Battle of Cerro Gordo (Mex), April 17-18, 1847." Color lithograph by Sarony and Major, New York City, 1847. The uniforms shown on the American soldiers are fanciful artist's interpretations. In reality almost all American soldiers, regulars as well as state volunteers, wore the regulation medium blue short tunic with a soft, wide forge cap, not the shako's as shown
Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

1847Cerro Gordo, Mexico - Mexican President/General Santa Anna with an army of some 15,000 soldiers assumes a defensive position in a mountain defile to block the American army under General Winfield Scott from advancing on to Mexico City. However, Scott is able to outflank the positions and rout the Mexican force. Santa Anna leaves the battlefield so fast that he abandons his personal carriage, which is captured by men of Company G, 4th Illinois Volunteer Regiment. In it they find a baked chicken, $18,000 in gold coins and Santa Anna's cork leg (he lost a leg to a cannonball during an earlier war). The story goes they ate the chicken, turned over the money to the army and brought the leg home as a souvenir. Today the leg is on display in the Illinois Military Museum in Springfield.

California Guardsmen patrol the streets of San Francisco following the devastating earthquakeCalifornia Guardsmen patrol the streets of San Francisco following the devastating earthquake
National Archives and Records Administration

1906San Francisco, CA - The "great" earthquake strikes this morning. Within hours large portions of the city not already destroyed by the quake itself are consumed in massive, uncontrollable fires. Almost immediately the 2nd Brigade, National Guard of California, under the command of Brigadier General John A. Koster, is called up for state active duty to assist in security. The brigade consisted of one battalion of coast artillery, two troops of cavalry, three infantry regiments and one signal company. However, since many of the members of these units live in the areas affected by the quake they failed to show up, so other California Guardsmen from areas spared damage were brought in. So many men served at least some term of service, and the funds used to pay and feed them totaled nearly $400,000, that the state adjutant general reported to the Chief, National Guard Bureau that summer camp for some units of the CA NG was cancelled for 1906. Looting got so bad that the mayor issued a controversial degree allowing military and police authorities to shoot to kill any looters resisting arrest. Several looters, person's actually attacking soldiers (usually found to be drunk) or in other ways causing "trouble" were shot by Guardsmen. The Guard remained on duty until finally released on June 2nd..

April 24
Israel Putnam, shown in the uniform of a Continental Army general, circa 1779Israel Putnam, shown in the uniform of a Continental Army general, circa 1779.
Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

1775Boston, MA - As more militia units, many from colonies other than Massachusetts, gather to strengthen the siege lines around the city in an attempt to compel the British forces to leave, several future patriot leaders begin to make their influence felt. Among these was Dr./Colonel Joseph Warren who in the days prior to the start of the war had been the chairman of the Committee of Safety tasked with the arming and training of the militia. It was he who on the night of April 18th dispatched William Dawes and Paul Revere to warn of the British march to Concord. He was wounded in action while directing patriot forces firing at the British retreating back to Boston after Lexington and Concord. In June he will be appointed a major general of the Massachusetts militia and later that month killed by a bullet to the head at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Another notable leader at this time was an old French and Indian War veteran from Connecticut, General Israel Putnam. During that war he had served as an officer in the famed "Rogers Rangers" and later rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel of the Connecticut militia. Once he arrived at Boston he was promoted to major general. He gained immortal fame during the Battle of Bunker Hill when, as the British troops advanced in a steady pace toward the American lines, he encouraged his non-battle tested men by shouting "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" He was one of the first men appointed by Congress to the rank of major general of the new Continental Army. He served in a variety of capacities until felled by a stroke in 1779.

April 25
Soldiers of the 4th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry at Camp Sancti SpiritusSoldiers of the 4th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry at Camp Sancti Spiritus, Cuba after the end of the war against Spain. These men are among the 170,000 serving in the ‘volunteers' drawn mostly from state uniform units, forerunners of today's National Guard.
National Archives and Records Administration

1898Washington, DC - America declares war against Spain over the issue of Cuban independence. Pressure had been growing on President William McKinley and Congress to take action since the explosion and sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in February, which many people blamed on Spanish sabotage. In the next few weeks nearly 170,000 men would join the army, almost all drawn from uniformed volunteer units, predecessors to the Guard.

April 26
Relaxing in camp are soldiers of the 'Clinch Rifles,'Relaxing in camp are soldiers of the "Clinch Rifles," Company A, 5th Georgia Infantry Regiment. The original of this image, taken on a wet plate glass negative printed the image backwards, causing the "CR" in on the tent and bucket to be reversed. Note the First National pattern Confederate flag hanging on the tent pole beside the black servant.
Army Heritage and Education Center

1865Durham, NC - Confederate General Joseph J. Johnson surrenders his Army of the Tennessee to Union General William T. Sherman at Bennett's Home. Following General Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9th, this was the last sizable Confederate force still in the field. Among the Confederate units surrendering was the 5th Georgia Infantry Regiment, organized in May 1861, contained several prewar uniformed militia companies including the "Clinch Rifles." Sherman's army included a large number of former militia commands from many of the western states including Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

April 27
President Ulysses S. GrantPresident Ulysses S. Grant. Painting by Chet Jezierski
Presidential Series

1822Point Pleasant, OH - Eighteenth President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, is born on this day. Having graduated from West Point in 1846 he served in the Mexican War and later in California as a Regular Army officer. He resigned his commission and, after several failed business attempts, by 1861 he was working for his father-in-law in Illinois. After the Civil War started he was appointed by the governor of Illinois to command the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Quickly showing great battlefield and strategic abilities, he was by 1862 commanding the Union armies in the West. After his successful capture of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 he was appointed as commander of all Union forces and moved to face General Robert E. Lee in Virginia. After initiating several bloody engagements and the grueling siege of Petersburg, VA, in winter of 1864-1865 he finally compelled Lee's armyto surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the war. He was elected as President in 1868 and again in 1872.

April 28

1993Washington, DC - Secretary of Defense Les Aspin issues a directive allowing women to fly fighter aircraft in combat. It only takes the Air Guard three days to bring its first female fighter pilot on board when Major Jackie Parker transfers from the Regular Air Force to New York's 138th Fighter Squadron on May 1st. Other women will follow her example so that by January 2005 there are ten female fighter pilots flying Air Guard combat aircraft.

April 29
Members of the 45th Military Police CompanyMembers of the 45th Military Police Company, 45th Infantry Division, inspect railcars containing the dead bodies of more than 1,000 inmates of Dachau Concentration Camp allowed by their Nazi jailers to starve to death.
National Archives and Records Administration

1945Dachau, Germany - Elements of the 45th Infantry Division (AZ, CO, NM, OK) liberate portions of this infamous Nazi concentration camp. When the soldiers first arrive at the main camp, they find a train sitting on a side track. Upon inspection it was discovered that more than 1,000 people had starved to death locked in its freight cars. Thousands of other bodies of the dead and those dying from disease and starvation were found in the compound. Combat hardened veterans were sickened by the dead and dying they found at Dachau. While most people think of "Dachau" as one town, it was in fact a hub around which 24 smaller slave labor work camps were located. Several of these were liberated in the next couple of days by elements of other National Guard units such as the 44th Infantry Division (NJ, NY).

April 30
36th Infantry DivisionAs an infantryman with months on the frontline, your idea of being sent to a "rest camp" probably did not include doing physical training in cold mountain air. However, as these members of the 36th Infantry Division found out, rest is not all fun. After the veterans had a few days to clean up and catch up on sleep the division began receiving replacements who needed to be trained within their assigned squads and companies. Within a month the 36th was ready to be placed into action again.
National Archives and Records Administration

1944Forino, Italy - After nearly two months of rest and to allow replacements to join and train with their depleted regiments, the 36th Infantry Division (TX) prepares to again enter the fight to capture Rome. The division had been in some the hardest fighting of the Italian campaign, from its assault landing south of Naples in September 1943, up the "boot" of Italy to the disastrous failed crossing of the Rapido River in January and its unsuccessful assaults to try to capture Monte Cassino. After this period of rest and refitting the unit will land at the Allied beachhead of Anzio and fight its way into Rome, helping to secure the city on June 5th (one day before the D-Day landings in France). In September the 36th will land in Southern France and fight it way into Germany through the Alps. It ended the war deep in side Germany, along the Rhine River. Its wartime record will show that the division had 16,800 casualties, the ninth highest number of all Army divisions in all theaters of the war. And it had 14 men awarded the Medal of Honor.