National Guard

 
October - Today in Guard History
October 1
An unknown lieutenant in the 32nd 'Red Arrow' Infantry DivisionAn unknown lieutenant in the 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division gets a tearful goodbye hug from his daughter he prepares to leave with his unit for post mobilization training at Fort Lewis, WA. His counterparts in the 49th" Lone Star" Armored Division from Texas were stationed at Fort Polk, LA during their tour of duty during the Berlin Crisis. Other Guard units were based all across the nation just in case Europe erupts into war.
National Guard Educational Foundation

1961Nationwide - In response to Soviet threats against West Berlin, President John F. Kennedy mobilizes two Army Guard divisions, the 32nd Infantry (WI) and 49th Armored (TX) along with 264 non-divisional Army Guard units on this date. In addition a total of 163 Air Guard units are also mobilized. These consisted of both flying units, including 43 fighter squadrons, and non-flying units such as hospitals and weather forecasting flights. Eleven of the Air Guard's fighter squadrons are soon deployed to NATO bases in France and West Germany, as well as to Spain, a non-NATO ally. No Army Guard units are deployed overseas. This mobilization marks several "firsts" in Guard history. It marked the first time Guard women were mobilized and deployed overseas. Women were only permitted to join the Guard as of 1956, too late for the Korean War mobilization. And it marked the first time Guard jet aircraft flew to duty stations in Europe. By making refueling stops in Labrador, Greenland and Iceland, more the 200 F-84s and F-86s fighters arrived on station without any mishaps. As tensions eased in the spring of 1962 some Guard units start being released from active duty. The last units return home in August.

October 2

1862The Second Battle of Corinth consisted of Confederate forces that comprised the Army of West Tennessee, with a total strength of 22,000 men under the command of Major General Earl Van Dorn. Corinth, located in northern Mississippi, is a vital rail junction. Once captured, it could be used as a springboard for invading middle Tennessee. Holding the city are 23,000 Union troops under the command of Major General William Rosecrans. At 10:00 on October 3rd the Confederates attack and succeed in pushing the outlying Union lines back toward the edge of the city. In one place, they actually break through, but fail to exploit the gap. It quickly is covered by reserve soldiers. By day's end men on both sides are suffering from the heat, fatigue and lack of water. Van Dorn thinks he can win the city the next morning, but when his men move forward, concentrated Union artillery mows them down in great numbers. Once repulsed, they attack again, only to lose more men for no gain. Finally, Van Dorn calls a halt to the assault and orders a withdrawal that night. The battle, though relatively small by standards of the armies fighting in the East, is still very costly. The Confederates suffered 1,423 killed, 5,692 wounded and 2,248 captured/missing (nearly 50% of the entire force). Union losses were about 4,000 killed and wounded. Van Dorn, a Mississippi native was a West Point graduate who served with distinction in the Mexican War. In January 1861, four months before the war started, he was appointed a brigadier general of Mississippi State Troops. His most successful operation was leading Confederate cavalry in a raid on Holly Springs, MS, in 1863, temporarily cutting General Ulysses Grant's supply lines for the siege of Vicksburg.

October 3
President George WashingtonPresident George Washington inspecting the Northern Army composed of Guard units from Pennsylvania and New Jersey at Harrisburg, PA, prior to its joining forces with the Southern Army coming from Maryland and Virginia. Washington is the only president who, in the role as "commander-in-chief" of the American armed forces, ever donned a military uniform while serving in office.
Painting by Donna Neary for the National Guard Bureau Heritage Series

1794Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - When Congress enacted a tax on whiskey in 1791, the result sparked mob actions from farmers in western Pennsylvania. They attacked excise agents, tax collectors and finally a federal marshal trying to enforce the law. This act and other provocations were enough for President George Washington; he called on the governors of four states; Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia to furnish troops from their militia to march to western Pennsylvania to restore the peace and end the "Whiskey Rebellion." This marked the first time under the Constitution that militia/Guard units would be called up for federal active duty. A total of 13,000 militia were raised and instructed to converge on two locations before linking up into one army. Elements from Maryland and Virginia, under the command of Virginia Governor Henry "Light Horse" Lee (a Revolutionary War hero and father of Robert E. Lee) met at Fort Cumberland, MD. One of the men serving in Captain Thomas Walker's Volunteer Corps from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was Private Meriwether Lewis, who would with fellow Virginian William Clark, command the "Corps of Discovery" exploring the American west in 1803-1805. Other units from Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania gathered at the town of Harrisburg, PA (this city would not become the capital of PA until 1812). President Washington, acting in his role as "Commander-in-Chief", donned a military uniform and inspected the troops first at Harrisburg on this date and later in October at Ft. Cumberland. This marks the only time an American president has actually taken command of troops in the field. Washington was planning on leading the Army himself but changed his mind and turned command over to Lee. As the Army moved into western Pennsylvania the revolt collapsed with little bloodshed. The ringleaders were later tried and convicted, but they were all pardoned by Washington.

October 4

1777Germantown, Pennsylvania - General George Washington launches a daring, multi-pronged, early morning attack against the British forces outside of Philadelphia in the hopes of dislodging the enemy from the city. The attack, while successful in the beginning, bogs down and ends with the Americans withdrawing from the field. The British spend a comfortable winter in Philadelphia while Washington's army, much of it composed of state-raised regiments, freezes at Valley Forge. However, during this winter it is reorganized and retrained by General Baron von Steuben and will prove an equal match when it meets the royal army in the spring.

California Guardsmen patrol the streets of San Francisco following the devastating earthquakePainting by Chet Jezierski for the National Guard Bureau
Presidential Series

1822Delaware, Ohio - Nineteenth President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes was born. Within days of the outbreak of the Civil War, Hayes left his successful law practice in Cincinnati, and with no prior military experience, received an appointment as the major in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (future 25th President William McKinley was a private in the same regiment). Displaying both personal courage and strong leadership, he proved a talented leader unlike many “politically connected” officers. Hayes rose to the rank of Major General of volunteers by War’s end. He once commented to former comrades that their wartime service constituted "the best years of our lives." After the war he served one term in the House of Representatives and was elected three times as the Governor of Ohio before running on the Republican ticket for president in 1876. Following the most contentious election in American history Hayes was declared the 19th President in 1877.As part of the agreement for winning this office he ended the period of Reconstruction in the South, allowing a “whole America” to move forward. He only served one term, then retired to Ohio. Hayes died in 1893.

October 5
Detail of Detail of "In the Trenches Before Yorktown-(General George) Washington (center) Inspecting the French Battery" on the opening day of the siege. Since the American army had few heavy siege guns the French contributed most to the bombardment of the British lines. Lithograph by Rufus Zogbaum for Harper's Weekly, October 22, 1881.
Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

1781Yorktown, Virginia - After more than two weeks of preparation the Allied armies of the United States and France complete their trench lines surrounding the British army of General Lord Charles Cornwallis besieged in this town. On this day General George Washington fires the opening shot into the British works and the siege begins. The guns, heavy French siege artillery, will pound the enemy redoubts night and day for nearly two weeks. In conjunction, several small attacks against selected British positions will be attempted. Though some fail, those upon Redoubts #9 and # 10 will succeed, hastening the British surrender two weeks later on October 19.

River RaisinKentucky Militia cavalry, under the command of Colonel Richard Johnson, smash through the British lines near the Thames River in Canada.
Painting by Ken Riley for the National Guard Bureau Heritage Series

1813Thames River, Ontario, Canada - A combined British and Native American army is decisively defeated by an American army under the command of General William Henry Harrison, a former general of Indiana militia and future president of the U.S. After the British component of the force was broken by mounted Kentucky militiamen, they went on a killing spree amongst the Indians under the war leader Tecumseh. Tecumseh, a Shawnee, built an Indian confederation combining several tribes as allies of the British. When members of these tribes captured Kentucky militiamen first at the River Raisin, Michigan Territory, in January 1813 and again at the siege of Fort Meigs, Ohio in May 1813, they tortured and killed many of them. The Kentuckians thus took their revenge by killing a large number of warriors, including Tecumseh, leading to the dissolution of the Indian confederacy.

Twenty-first President of the United States Chester A. ArthurTwenty-first President of the United States Chester A. Arthur is born. He served as the Quartermaster for the state of New York's militia during the Civil War.
Painting by Chet Jezierski for the National Guard Bureau Presidential Series

1829Fairfield, Vermont - Twenty-first President of the United States Chester A. Arthur is born. While practicing law in New York City prior to the Civil War Arthur was appointed as a brigade quartermaster of the city's Guard units. Once the war started he quickly rose to become the Quartermaster General of New York, tasked with overseeing that New York soldiers had all the supplies they needed to prepare themselves to enter active duty in the Union Army. As part of his job he toured different garrisons and camps, inspecting to be sure the supplies, from clothing to tents, were adequate and available as needed. Though he never saw combat, with New York contributing more than 100 regiments of infantry plus cavalry and artillery units, he assured tens of thousands of men were ready to fight. After the war he was appointed by President Ulysses Grant as the Collector of the Port of New York, responsible for the largest single source of revenue (import tariffs) for the federal government. He was a strong supporter of the Republican Party and was elected Vice President in 1880 when James Garfield became the 20th President. Just six months after taking office Garfield was assassinated and Arthur became the 21st President. He fought the "spoils system” and signed the first general federal immigration law. Arthur suffered from kidney problems and was not renominated by the Republican Party in 1884.

October 6
Attempting to save the life of Lieutenant Erwin Bleckley and his pilot are French soldiers behind the Allied lines“The Highest Possible Courage” depicts injured World War I aviator Lieutenant Erwin Bleckley, a Kansas National Guardsman trained as a field artilleryman, who volunteered for hazardous aviation duty and was shot down in his attempt to drop provisions for the “Lost Battalion” in the Meuse-Argonne campaign of 1918. First Lieutenant Harold Goettler, the reconnaissance pilot, is shown in the background of the image along with French soldiers. The group attempted to render Bleckley first aid from injuries suffered in transporting supplies to the marooned battalion. Goettler managed to land the plane in the French sector, though he succumbed to his own wounds received in the mission, and like Bleckley, was also awarded the Medal of Honor. Erwin Bleckley was the first of three National Guard aviators in the twentieth century to earn the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for battle valor .
Painting by John D. Shaw for the National Guard Bureau Heritage Series

1918Binarville, Meuse-Argonne, France - The first phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive started on September 26, 1918. After several days of intense, hand-to-hand fighting along a front more than twenty miles long, the attacks were stopped in order to consolidate Allied gains, rest the troops, and allow replacements to catch up to their new units. Phase Two of the Offensive, which included eight Guard divisions, started on October 5. When a battalion of the 77th Division (non-Guard) became "lost" in a wooded area ahead of the American lines, several observation aircraft were sent to locate it for a rescue mission. Late in the afternoon on this day the "Lost Battalion" was located by First Lieutenant Erwin Bleckley, a Kansas Guardsmen who volunteered for aviation duty as a rear observer and gunner. After reporting the location of the unit to headquarters, Bleckley's aircraft made two low-level supply drops to get and medical supplies to the beleaguered troops. During its second pass his aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire and crash landed killing him and his pilot. For showing the ".highest possible contempt of personal danger, devotion to duty, courage and valor" Bleckley was awarded the Medal of Honor, the first Guard aviator so honored.

2001Skies over Afghanistan - The United States begins its first air strikes of Operation Enduring Freedom, the attack against the Taliban government giving refuge to Usama Bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida attacks of September 11th. Among the first aircraft flying over the hostile countryside are EC-130s of the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. This unit, unique in the Air Force, broadcasts radio programming in AM, FM, high frequency plus television signals targeted at the populace affected by the operation. Known as "psychological warfare," the unit's mission is to inform enemy soldiers and non-combatants alike of what the United States is doing and why. Where large populations of civilians are threatened these broadcasts will sometimes inform them of pending strikes so they can evacuate the area. The unit first saw active duty during the Vietnam conflict when two of their aircraft and all-volunteer crews, based in Thailand, flew missions along the Cambodian and Laotian borders with Vietnam, encouraging the enemy to give up. The 193rd was among the first Air Force units involved in the actions in Panama (1989), Desert Shield/Storm (1990-1991), Somalia (1992), Bosnia (1995), Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).

October 7

1780King's Mountain, South Carolina - An American force composed entirely of North and South Carolina militia and "over the mountain” men annihilate an army of approximately 1,000 Loyalists (American colonists loyal to the British crown). They killed about a third during the battle and captured virtually all the rest. This was the first major setback to British hopes of gaining a quick victory in the southern states.

October 8

1871Chicago, Illinois - The "Great Chicago Fire" starts in Mrs. O'Leary's barn and Before it is brought under control, the "Great Chicago Fire” kills more than 300 people and obliterates an estimated $100 million in property. Early during this disaster a militia battalion, known as the "Norwegian Guards,” offered its services to the police. By the second day of the fire the battalion was being aided by other volunteer militia units under the command of the adjutant general of Illinois. Among these was the "Zouave Liberty Guards," an all-black company from Springfield. Most of these Guardsmen, now reorganized into the provisional "First Regiment Chicago Volunteers" stayed on state duty for about 15 days, patrolling burned out sections of town looking for looters and guarding railroad depots where relief supplies were arriving.

Brigadier General James DozierBrigadier General James Dozier as the Adjutant General of South Carolina, circa 1940
National Guard Educational Foundation

1918Montebrehain, Somme, France - First Lieutenant James Dozier, a Guardsman from Rock Hill, SC, assumes command of South Carolina's Company G, 118th Infantry, 30th Division, after his captain is wounded. This occurred during the regiment's advance against German defensive positions known as the "Hindenburg Line.” Though soon wounded in the shoulder himself, Dozier continued to lead his men forward until they were stopped by heavy enemy machine gun fire.

After getting his men under as much cover as possible, Dozier and one sergeant moved ahead. With the sergeant tossing grenades and Dozier using his one good hand to fire his pistol, they cleared the machine gun nest. They soon encountered some German troops sheltering in a dugout, taking them all prisoner. Growing weak from blood loss, Dozier returned to his men before collapsing. For his gallant leadership Lieutenant Dozier was awarded the Medal of Honor, one of 12 bestowed upon soldiers in the 30th Division.

The “Old Hickory” Division was composed of Guard units from North and South Carolina and Tennessee in World War I. They comprised the most Medal of Honor recipients of any division in the American Army. Dozier himself went on to a distinguished Guard career, ascending to the position of Adjutant General of South Carolina in 1926. He retained this position until retiring in 1959 as one of the longest serving adjutants general in modern Guard history. Dozier also served as the President of the National Guard Association prior to World War II and the federal mobilization of 1940-41. Dozier was a leading figure in the struggle to obtain the best equipment and resources for the Guard, his career fondly remembered by the citizens of South Carolina.

October 9

2004Samarra, Iraq - Guardsmen of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, 27th Infantry Brigade from New York, along with other American and Iraqi troops, fight against insurgents who have been using this town in north-central Iraq to launch attacks against Coalition forces in Baghdad. After several days of intense, often house-to-house combat, the town is freed of enemy combatants. One man from the 2nd Battalion was killed in action and seven wounded.

October 10
A mobilized pilot with the 127th Fighter-Bomber SquadronA mobilized pilot with the 127th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Kansas Air Guard, is escorted by his two sons to his F-84C aircraft as he prepares to enter active duty. The 127th will be deployed to Chaumont, France as one of the sixteen Air Guard squadrons serving in Europe.
National Guard Education Foundation

1950Nationwide - A total of sixteen Air Guard squadrons are mobilized for duty during the Korean War. Five of these fighter squadrons, the 111th (TX), 136th (TX), 154th (AR), 158th (GA) and 196th (CA) would fly missions in Korea. Sixteen other units were deployed to NATO bases in Europe.

Gunners of Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 197th Artillery from New HampshireGunners of Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 197th Artillery from New Hampshire fire their first mission since the battalion arrived in Vietnam in September.
Courtesy of Colonel John Sullivan (Ret.)

1968Fire Support Base "Thunder II," Vietnam - New Hampshire's Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 197th Artillery, one of eight Army Guard units to serve in Vietnam, fired the battalion's first mission on this date. During the course of its tour the 3/197th would support the 1st Infantry, 1st Cavalry, 101st Airborne and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) divisions as well as 35th Special Forces Group. Tragically, six of its Guard members would be killed in action during the unit's one year tour. Six of its Guard members would be killed in action during the unit's one year tour.

October 11
The first President of the National Guard Association was New York Major General George WingateThe first President of the National Guard Association was New York Major General George Wingate, who served in the position from 1879-1890. Wingate was a strong proponent of Guard readiness issues and laid the groundwork to make the Association an active voice in Congressional matters dealing with the militia.
National Guard Education Foundation

1879The first President of the National Guard Association was New York Major General George Wingate, who served in the position from 1879-1890. Wingate was a strong proponent of Guard readiness issues and laid the groundwork to make the Association an active voice in Congressional matters dealing with the militia.

October 12

1944River, Germany - The 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry from Virginia, part of the 29th Infantry Division (DC, MD, VA) and elements of the 119th Infantry from North Carolina, part of the 30th Infantry Division (NC, SC, TN) in support of other American units of the XIX Corps prepare to launch a river crossing assault against well-fortified enemy positions. Moving forward on the morning of the 13th the assault is met with heavy and accurate artillery fire, causing many casualties. However, the river is crossed and a breech in the German line is affected, allowing the 3rd Battalion, 120th Infantry (TN), 30th Infantry Division and armored elements to exploit the gap.

October 13
Governor Daniel J. EvansGovernor Daniel J. Evans welcomes Specialist Five Nora Campbell after having just sworn her in as the first female member of the Washington Army National Guard. In almost every state it was either the governor or adjutant general who 'did the honors' of welcoming that state's first female enlistee and getting the photo opportunity that went with it.
National Guard Education Foundation

1971Fort Richardson, Anchorage AK, and Camp Murray, Fort Lewis, WA - Two states tie for claiming to have enlisted the first female soldier into their respective Army National Guard units. At Camp Murray, Specialist Five Nora Campbell is sworn on this date as a member of the Washington Army National Guard. At virtually the same time, Specialist Five Mary L. Cunningham is sworn in as a member of the Alaska Army National Guard in Anchorage. Both are members of their respective State Area Headquarters (the Specialist Five enlisted ran is no longer in use; it was the equivalent to a Sergeant, E-5). In 1967 Congress authorized the enlistment of prior-service female personnel into the Guard under Public Law 90-130 effective 1 July 1968. Only prior service women were allowed to join at this point due to the war in Vietnam demanding so much money that none was available to train women for enlisted Guard service. The Air Guard immediately enlisted its first prior-service woman when Technical Sergeant Reannie Pocock joined the 146th Military Airlift Wing, CA ANG in 1968. However, the Army Guard waited three years before finally accepting its first enlisted women soldiers. As the war in Vietnam drew to a close in the early 1970s, and the all-volunteer and Total Force policies took effect, Congress amended the law, added more money for Guard training and allowed the direct enlistment of women with no prior-service experience.

October 14
Medics of the 124th Infantry (FL), 31st Infantry DivisionMedics of the 124th Infantry (FL), 31st Infantry Division (AL, FL, LA, MS) are carrying stretchers to be prepared to evacuate wounded soldiers as the division fights on Aitape Island, New Guinea, July 31, 1944.
National Archives and Records Administration

1924St. Augustine, Florida - The 31st Division is reorganized and federally recognized with its headquarters in the United States’ oldest recognized city. However, by the time of the 1940 mobilization for World War II, the headquarters had been moved to Birmingham, AL. Composed of Guard units from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, it resumes the nickname "Dixie" Division first adopted during World War I.

In that war, though the 31st served in France, though it was not committed to combat as an intact unit. Instead, it was used as 'depot' division, with many of its soldiers levied to fill in the ranks of other American units depleted in frontline fighting.

During World War II, the 31st was committed to different actions in the Pacific Theater, in the Western New Guinea Campaign. This included assault beach landings on the island of Morotai (then located in the Netherlands East Indies; today, part of Indonesia), as well as the island of Aitape located in New Guinea. The “Dixie Division” was mobilized again in 1952 during the Korean War, but did not serve overseas. Similar to its World War I service, many of its men were levied and sent to Korea as individual replacements.

Elements of the 31st Division, especially in Alabama, were placed on state or federal active duty during the height of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Elements of the unit were placed on either state or federal active duty to help maintain order.

In 1968, as part of a massive reorganization of the Guard, the 31st Infantry Division was deactivated as a divisional element, then reorganized and redesignated as the 31st Armored Brigade, an all-Alabama unit. Through later reorganizations, the present unit became known as the 31st Chemical Brigade, then later as the 31st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Brigade.

October 15
Lieutenant Colonel William 'Wild Bill' DonovanLieutenant Colonel William "Wild Bill" Donovan photographed serving on the Front during World War I. His ribbons are for the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre (Cross of War-awarded for valor in combat). He did not receive his Medal of Honor until after the armistice on November 11th.
National Archives and Records Administration

1918Landres-et-St. Georges, Meuse-Argonne, France - Lieutenant Colonel William "Wild Bill" Donovan earned the Medal of Honor while leading his regiment, the 165th Infantry (formerly the 69th New York, the "Fighting 69th" of Civil War fame), 42nd "Rainbow" Division, in an attack to capture a German strongpoint. By acts of personal courage such as rallying platoons of soldiers decimated and about to break from enemy fire, he again led them forward. Though seriously wounded he refused to be evacuated and continued to command his men from a bomb crater. Eventually the Americans did have to withdraw after suffering devastating losses. Donovan started his Guard service by organizing his own cavalry troop which then commanded during its tour of duty on the Mexican border in 1916. He then joined the 69th New York just prior to the mobilization for World War I. Even before earning the Medal of Honor, in July 1918, he displayed extreme courage while leading a battalion in its attack on German positions in the Oureq River (called by the Irish of the 69th as the "O'Rourke River") sector. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (the Army's second highest medal for valor). In World War II Donovan organized and commanded the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of today's CIA.

October 16
Right from the beginning of the Allied invasion of Iraq authorized by President Bush in March of 2003Right from the beginning of the Allied invasion of Iraq authorized by President Bush in March of 2003, Guard personnel were actively involved in many aspects of the operation. These members of North Carolina's 30th Infantry Brigade patrol a Baghdad street searching for insurgents.
National Guard Bureau Historical Files

2002Washington, DC - Congress gives President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq, in order to locate and destroy Saddam Hussein's suspected stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). While the authorization encourages Bush to seek UN support for such action it did not require him to have it in order to attack Iraq. When the war starts in March 2003, Army and Air Guard units are involved at the beginning of what becomes known as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

October 17
Members of the Members of the "Richmond Grays", Company A, First Virginia Infantry, posed for this famous photograph while on guard duty in Charles Town, VA (now Charlestown, WV) during the trial and execution of John Brown. The 'Grays,' like the "Continental Morgan Guard" is perpetuated in the Virginia Guard today, as a element of the 276th Engineer Battalion.
Virginia National Guard Historical Collection

1859Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now WV) - Abolitionist John Brown leads a group of men in a raid to capture the federal arsenal located here with the intent to arm slaves he would lead in revolt against their masters. His plans are foiled by local townspeople attacking his party and forcing them into the town firehouse. They are soon surrounded by militiamen from Jefferson, Berkeley, and Frederick Counties. One such unit, the "Continental Morgan Guard,” from Winchester, Virginia, is still an element of the Virginia National Guard as of 2009. As word of the raid spreads, other militia troops arrive by train, some from as far away as Richmond. However, U.S. Marines under the command of Army Colonel Robert E. Lee arrive and storm "Brown's fort,” killing or capturing these raiders. Brown himself is captured, and later tried for treason, then convicted. On December 2, 1859, Brown was hanged in Charlestown, Virginia (current-day West Virginia). During this period, he is guarded by several hundred Virginia militia against the possibility of other raiders trying to free him, though no such attack was launched.

989At 5:04 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered south of the San Francisco Bay near Loma Prieta Mountain, CaliforniaAt 5:04 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered south of the San Francisco Bay near Loma Prieta Mountain, California" the caption can be changed to, "Structurally damaged home in Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California, indicative of the damage of the Loma Prieta quake.
Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

1989At 5:04 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered south of the San Francisco Bay near Loma Prieta Mountain, California, produces widespread damage to Bay Area property and infrastructure. By 6:00 pm, every National Guard unit in California is placed on alert for possible state active duty. The California National Guard activates just over 1,000 California Guardsmen to state active duty, all of whom responded to disaster relief operations by the following day. This was one of the largest domestic response incidents in the United States up until that time.

Within an hour of the earthquake, the California Air National Guard's 129th Aerospace and Recovery Group (129 ARG), based at the Moffett Field Naval Air Station near San Jose, had its first HC-130 Hercules transport conducting a damage assessment over the San Francisco Bay area. Three other units of the California Air Guard lent assistance later, including the 146th Tactical Airlift Wing, Point Mugu, which transported medical specialists and equipment; the 162nd Combat Communications Group based in Sacramento sent communications assistance; and, the 163rd Tactical Fighter Wing of Fresno sent personnel and heavy equipment to help with clean up. The 106th Aerospace and Recovery Group, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., provided pilots and a loadmaster to help their California-based counterparts with flying missions.

In addition, the California Army National Guard operated a helicopter detachment from the Alameda Naval Air Station. Their missions included medical evacuation, aerial observation and damage surveys, air transportation, and engineer support with C-130 cargo aircraft and 12 rotor-wing aircraft. Units providing medical response capabilities were the 175th Medical Brigade; 40th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade; the 115th Aviation Support Group, as well as California state headquarters and the Army Troop Command.

The California National Guard also formed two task forces in expectation of receiving missions from the California Office of Emergency Services. The Guard assisted greatly in the areas of aviation support to law enforcement and damage assessment operations.

The event was seen live by millions of viewers across the United States, as the temblor started just prior to the start of Game 3 of the World Series baseball championship between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. Property and infrastructure suffered tremendously. Another image widely broadcast to the nation was the collapse of multi-decked Interstate 880 in Oakland, which killed 42 people.

In all, 62 people were killed as a result of the quake, over 2,500 injured, and thousands more were left without homes. The California National Guard’s domestic response capabilities worked quickly and effectively to mitigate the widespread suffering of the region, and to bring about a sense of normality to Californians.

October 18
Two members of the 29th Ranger BattalionTwo members of the 29th Ranger Battalion slog through mud on the obstacle course at the British Commando Training School in Scotland prior to the battalion being disbanded.
National Archives and Records Administration

1943Okehampton, England - Under General Order 27, the 29th Infantry (DC, MD, VA) disbanded the 29th Ranger Battalion (Provisional). Organized in December 1942 from volunteers drawn from the 29th Division, the 500-man group undertook specialized training conducted by the famed British Commandos. The soldiers learned how to penetrate deep behind enemy lines, staging raids, and gathering intelligence. When the battalion was organized, its plan by the Army was to disband the unit so its men could return to their former companies and teach these advanced skills to other members of the 29th Division. Some veterans of D-Day and the Normandy campaign of 1944 credit these additional skills to saving their own respective lives.

October 19
Surrender of Lord CornwallisSurrender of Lord Cornwallis, by artist John Trumbull (1820), is located in the United States Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. After American and French movements at Yorktown compelled British armed forces to surrender, terms were dictated by General George Washington, the military commander for the Continental Army and formerly a colonel in the Virginia Miltia.
Image courtesy of the Office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol.

1781Yorktown, Virginia - After a siege of three weeks American independence is assured when a British army commanded by General Lord Charles Cornwallis is entrapped in this village. Cornwallis is compelled to surrender his more than 5,000 troops to General George Washington. Washington, himself a former Virginia Guardsman, commands a combined Franco-American force which contains in its ranks several thousand militiamen, primarily from Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina..

Lieutenant General Raymond S. McLainLieutenant General Raymond S. McLain. Painting by Howard Chandler Christy.
Courtesy State Museum of History, Oklahoma Historical Society

1944Aachen, Germany - Newly promoted Lieutenant General Raymond S. McLain assumes command of the XIX Corps. Two of the three divisions under his command are from the Guard: the 29th Division, or "Blue-Gray” Division (DC, MD, VA), and the 30th Division, also known as the "Old Hickory” Division (NC, SC, TN). Dealing with National Guard units is not as difficult a chore for McLain as for some, as he came from a background of Oklahoma Guard service when he enlisted as a private in 1912. Several uncles had served in state volunteer units during the Spanish-American War, including one with the 1st Volunteer Cavalry, known popularly as the "Rough Riders,” in Cuba. By 1916, just before McLain's unit deployed to the Mexican border, he was promoted to First Lieutenant in the 1st Oklahoma Infantry. In 1917, as his regiment was assigned to the newly organized 36th Division (TX, OK) for its World War I deployment to France, McLain was promoted to Captain. He saw combat, where he ingested poison gas, but later recovered. In the period between the Wars, McLain returned to the Oklahoma National Guard. Despite the fact he never graduated from high school, McLain overcame his lack of formal education. Through determined study and effort, he earned the rank of brigadier general in command of the 45th Division Artillery (AZ, CO, NM, OK) by the time of the 1941 mobilization.

October 20
Major General Donald McGowanMajor General Donald McGowan served as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau from 1959-1963.
National Guard Bureau Historical Files

1962Washington, DC - Major General Donald McGowan, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau and other Reserve Component directors are given a Top Secret briefing in the Pentagon regarding the impending crisis in Cuba. This followed the discovery of Soviet nuclear missile sites being constructed on October 18th. President John Kennedy would announce this intelligence to the world in a televised speech on October 22nd, causing worldwide concern of a nuclear war. After the President's speech, a number of Guard units, primarily Air Guard fighter groups, were given alert notifications that they might be called up if the crisis deepened. Although officially in a training status, all of these units began operating at an increased tempo, which included flying along American coastal areas to keep watch for suspicious activity. However, with the Soviet agreement to withdraw the missiles, tensions began to subside, so no Guard units were mobilized during the crisis.

October 21
Death of Colonel (Edward D.) Baker"Death of Colonel (Edward D.) Baker" a period engraving by an unknown artist.
Courtesy of Mr. Kim Holien

1861Loudoun County, Virginia - A Union assault across the Potomac River north of Washington, DC, at a site named Harrison's Landing or better known to history as "Ball's Bluff" was repulsed with heavy losses. While Confederate losses were rather light, the Union forces suffered 223 men killed and more 700 captured, with several hundred more wounded. Among the dead was Colonel, and U.S. Senator from Oregon, Edward D. Baker. Born in England, he came to America as a child and spent his early life in Illinois, where he met and befriended Abraham Lincoln. While in Illinois, Baker was elected to the House of Representatives in 1844. He resigned his seat in 1846 to command the 4th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Mexican War, commanding the Siege of Veracruz and the Battle of Cerro Gordo. After the war, he moved to California, then Oregon, taking a seat in the U.S. Senate as one of Oregon's first two new Senators. After the Civil War started in April 1861, Baker raised a regiment in New York, but soon after took a commission as the commander of the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry while still seated in the Senate.During the Battle of Ball's Bluff, Baker's regiment found itself backed up against the river by Colonel William Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade (13th, 17th, and 18th Mississippi regiments). Killed instantly by a shot in the head, he was the only seated member of Congress to die in combat during the Civil War.Several other interesting notes stem from this battle. Due to Baker's death and the high losses suffered in this operation, questions were raised in Congress about the Army's leadership. As a result, the "Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War" was established to oversee the handling of the war effort. Barksdale's Brigade would meet some of the very same units it fought at Ball's Bluff again at Antietam and Fredericksburg in 1862. These units included the 7th Michigan and the 19th and 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiments.

October 22
First Lieutenant Reed ChambersFirst Lieutenant Reed Chambers shooting down the first of his two "kills" in five minutes. Note the "Hat-in-the-Ring" emblem painted on the fuselage of his plane.
Painting by William S. Phillips for the National Guard Bureau Heritage Series

1918Skies over France - In 1918, the new Army Air Service (a forerunner of the U.S. Air Force) was organized. Calling for volunteers, First Lieutenant Reed Chambers, who was mobilized with a Tennessee National Guard unit, joined up. He was assigned to the newly organized 94th "Hat-in-the-Ring" Pursuit Squadron, soon to become nationally famous for the headlines some of its members, including Chambers, would generate by their combat exploits over "no man's land" in France. Among the men serving in this squadron was Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, who would earn numerous awards for valor, including the Medal of Honor. Chambers, while not receiving the Medal of Honor, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with an Oak Leaf Cluster (2nd Award) for his success in shooting down enemy aircraft. His most remarkable feat occurred on this date when he downed two German Fokker D-VIIs (often regarded as the finest airplane used in World War I) in less than five minutes. He ended the war as an 'ace' with a total of five kills, and remained in the Air Service at least as late as 1920.

A member of the 169th Infantry (CT), 43rd Infantry DivisionA member of the 169th Infantry (CT), 43rd Infantry Division, takes a break during training in New Zealand.
National Archives and Records Administration

1942Wellington, New Zealand - To safeguard this Allied nation against a possible Japanese attack, the Guard's 43rd Infantry Division (CT, ME, RI, VT) arrives to act as a garrison and to begin its jungle training before later deployments to combat in the Northern Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines.

Soldiers of the 126th Infantry (MI), 32nd Infantry DivisionSoldiers of the 126th Infantry (MI), 32nd Infantry Division, take cover as they approach a native hut in the mountains of Leyte, November 1944.
National Archives and Records Administration

1944Leyte, Philippine Islands - Following a two-day bombardment, the U.S. 6th Army, under the command of General Walter Kruger, storms ashore on this central island the Philippine archipelago. While no Army Guard divisions took part in the initial assault, three would soon be committed to securing the island from the Japanese. These were the 32nd (MI, WI), 38th (KY, IN, WV) and Americal (IL, MA, ND) infantry divisions. Men serving in all three of these divisions ended up fighting in the dense jungles of the central mountains, often engaging enemy Japanese soldiers who barricaded themselves in caves, necessitating flamethrowers or dynamite to be brought out to end their resistance.

October 23
A member of the 36th Infantry Division (TX) stands guard over German prisoners in FranceA member of the 36th Infantry Division (TX) stands guard over German prisoners in France in the autumn of 1944. Note his 36th "T" shoulder patch for representing the "Texas Division."
National Archives and Records Administration

1944La Houssiere, France - The 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division (TX), soon known as the "Lost Battalion" was cut off on top of a hill by German infantry and armored forces. For six days the unit stemmed enemy attacks suffered extremely high losses. With ammunition, food, and water running out, the battalion was relieved by the other two battalions of the 141st, along with the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team made up of Japanese-Americans.

October 24
East front view of the Washington home at 'Mount Vernon'East front view of the Washington home at "Mount Vernon," near Alexandria, VA.
Courtesy Mount Vernon Ladies Association

1742Jamaica, West Indies - Gooch's American Regiment of Foot is disbanded, and its men, most weakened by tropical diseases, are boarded on ships to return them to their respective colonies. With the outbreak of war between Britain and Spain in 1740, the British authorities decided to capture Spanish colony of Cartagena (today, the nation of Colombia) in South America. The regular army was stretched too thin to support this effort so it was determined to organize an expedition from volunteers drawn from the militia of eleven of the English North American colonies. Two colonies, Georgia and South Carolina, were too involved in their own 'war' against Indian raids coming from Spanish Florida to aid in the Cartagena campaign. From the remaining 11 colonies a huge regiment numbering almost 3,500 men was organized. It was known by several designations as the 61st Regiment of Foot, the American Regiment and probably most frequently as "Gooch's Regiment" after Virginia's Governor, William Gooch, who served as its colonel. Keeping with the regional composition of the regiment, the 1st Battalion was composed of men from New England, the 2nd from New Jersey and New York, the 3rd from Pennsylvania and Delaware and the 4th from Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Commanding a Virginia company in the 4th Battalion was Captain Lawrence Washington, older brother of George. The expedition proved an utter failure, due to incompetence in leadership and poor planning which had the men involved in a siege operation during the height of the malaria and yellow fever season. Only about 600 men survived the expedition. Perhaps the most lasting effect of the entire venture was when Lawrence Washington returned home he named his plantation "Mount Vernon" in honor of Admiral Edward Vernon, the British naval commander of the expedition. When Lawrence died in 1752 and George inherited the property he retained the name, which it still carries today.

October 25
Major General Irene Trowell-HarrisMajor General Irene Trowell-Harris was the first National Guard African American woman to be promoted to general officer in the National Guard on this date.
National Guard Bureau Historical Files

1993Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC - Colonel Irene Trowell-Harris, from the New York Air National Guard, is promoted to Brigadier General on this date; thus becoming the National Guard's first African-American woman to hold general officer rank. She served as the Assistant to the Director, Medical Readiness, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters, USAF. She started her Guard career as a flight nurse by joining the 102nd Aeromedical Evacuation Flight, NY Air National Guard in 1963. She steadily moved up in rank and responsibility, becoming the nurse administrator of the 105th Tactical Air Command Hospital in 1985. In 1986, she was appointed to command the 105th, the first nurse in Air Guard history to command a medical facility. Trowell-Harris was promoted Major General in September 1998, and later retired in September 2001.

October 26
Brigadier General William A. MannBrigadier General William A. Mann, who would later be promoted to the rank of Major General and become the fourth Chief of the Militia Bureau in 1914. In 1917, he would become the first commander of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division in World War I.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

1916Major General William A. Mann was sworn in as Chief of the Militia Bureau, one of the predecessor organizations of the National Guard Bureau. Serving as Chief until November 1917, Mann left to command the famed 42nd "Rainbow” Division, formed from 27 states, during World War I. After passage of the 1916 National Defense Act, Mann and his successor, Major General Jessie Carter, were the last general officers serving as Chief of the Militia Bureau who did not serve specifically as a National Guardsman.

October 27
Twenty-sixth President of the United States Theodore RooseveltTwenty-sixth President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt is born on this day.
Painting by Chet Jezierski for the National Guard Bureau Presidential Series

1858Theodore Roosevelt, who would become the 26th President of the United States, was born on this date in New York City. “T.R.,” as he became known, was one of the nation’s most notablePresidents, advocating a larger military presence in world affairs and taking great interest in formulating progressive national policies at the turn of the 20th century.

Roosevelt was appointed a second lieutenant in Company B, Eighth Regiment, New York National Guard in 1882. He would later describe his initial military experience as “invaluable.”

Roosevelt’s most famous experience with National Guard soldiers, however, took place after the start of the Spanish-American War in spring 1898. He left his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to raise a regiment known as the First Volunteer Cavalry. It would be composed of college students, prospectors, miners, cowboys, and other Western outdoorsmen. The self-styled unit became known as the “Rough Riders.”

The unit was composed primarily of many men from the territories of New Mexico, Arizona and Oklahoma, as well as the state of Texas. Their ranks were filled by many experienced militia soldiers from the Western United States. The decisive victory of the First Volunteer Cavalry on Kettle Hill energized by Theodore Roosevelt, although often misidentified as San Juan Hill, brought great fame to the unit. Roosevelt received great accolades for the mission, and would become Vice-President in 1901, and later ascending as President of the United States that same year after the assassination of William McKinley in September.

1920Columbia, South Carolina - Under General Order Number 8, Regimental Sergeant Major Rufus W. Grant is appointed Inspector General and Assistant Adjutant General of South Carolina. In 1921, with the death of the former Adjutant General, Grant was appointed to take his place, the first and only enlisted soldier to ever be appointed to command a state's National Guard. He held this position until 1923 when the term of office expired and he returned to the job of Inspector General.

October 28
Members of the 101st Engineers (MA)Members of the 101st Engineers (MA), an element of the 26th Division use empty ammunition crates to remove debris and repair a road recently cratered by German artillery. Due to a lack of wheelbarrows and trucks the men often had to resort to improvisation to complete their mission. Keeping the roads passable to allow supplies to reach the frontline trenches was one of the most important tasks of Army engineers during the war.
National Archives and Records Administration

1918Bois Belleu, north of Verdun, France - World War I was reaching its climax as Allied forces all along the Western Front continued to launch attacks against the German "Hindenburg Line.” Used to keep pressure on the Germans, most of these attacks gain some ground, but not all succeed. A case in point is the failed assault launched on this date by the 26th Division (CT, ME, MAS, NH, RI, VT) in a sector known to the French as "Death Valley.” The Division was quite weak, having been in action almost daily with little relief, since the start of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in late September. The 51st Brigade, composed of the 101st Infantry (MA) and the 102nd Infantry (CT), had only 15 officers and barely 800 men when their combined organizational strength should have been about 6,000 men. The men were exhausted, but when orders were given to advance, the units heeded the call. Despite artillery support from the 101st Field Artillery (MA) and French cannons, the assault failed to reach its goal. The survivors withdrew to their original jumping-off point, having lost an additional 150 men killed, wounded, or missing. On November 1, 1918, the 26th Division pulled out of Death Valley, and was sent to a rest area. It would see no more combat as the War ended on November 11th.

October 29

1864Henrico County, Virginia - Union forces under the command of Major General Benjamin Butler attacked the Richmond defenses along Darbytown Road. Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, has been under indirect siege since General Ulysses Grant placed the Army of the Potomac in a wide arc surrounding its southern flank, including the outlaying town of Petersburg. Butler hoped to breech Richmond's outer works but was easily repulsed, loosing about 1,000 men, 600 of whom were captured. General Butler, having no military experience when the war began was nevertheless appointed a brigadier general of Massachusetts volunteers. He succeeded in bringing reinforcements to Washington despite riots in Baltimore against Union troops. For this, President Lincoln appointed him a major general and placed him to command Fort Monroe, situated on the point of land between Richmond and the Chesapeake Bay. While in command here, he offered runaway slaves sanctuary by calling them "contraband of war.” In late 1861, he returned to Massacusetts to organize six new regiments and with these, he captured New Orleans in May 1862. This was the high point of his military career. After some minor actions, Butler was commanding the Army of the James, on the southern flank of Richmond. Within this army, he organized the XXV Corps composed entirely of African-Americans fighting for the Union cause, known then as U.S. Colored Troops. Butler launched this corps in an unsuccessful attack at Chapin's Farm. Fourteen of the 18 Medals of Honor awarded to African-American soldiers were earned in this battle. One recipient, Sergeant Christian Fleetwood, would later serve as a Major commanding the black battalion in the Washington DC National Guard in the 1880s. Soon after his defeat on Darbytown Road, Butler transferred to North Carolina, where he failed in his efforts to capture Wilmington. Grant and Lincoln finally agreed to relieve him from command. Butler then went on to have a successful career as a Congressman, serving from 1867-1879. Butler later served as Governor of Massachusetts.

October 31
An F-86A Sabre Jet of the 116th Fighter SquadronAn F-86A Sabre Jet of the 116th Fighter Squadron, circa 1952. Note the state markings on the fuselage.
>Taken from Dedication Ceremonies Washington Air National Guard, Geiger Field, 1960

1952Nationwide - Eighteen of the 67 Air Guard squadrons mobilized in 1950-1951 during the Korean War are returned to state control on this date. Only one of the 18, the 116th Fighter Squadron from Moses Lake Air Force Base, WA, served overseas during this period. Issued new F-86A Sabre jets the 116th was stationed at the Royal Air Force base at Manston, England as part of the reinforcement of NATO forces put in place to discourage a Soviet attack in Europe. The six squadrons that actually deployed and fought in Korea were released in July 1952. The last flying units of the Air Guard serving on active duty during this period were finally released on December 31, 1952.