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June - Today in Guard History
June 1
Fifteenth President of the United States James Buchanan served in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812Fifteenth President of the United States James Buchanan served in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812.
Presidential Series

1866Lancaster, PA - Fifteenth President of the United States James Buchanan dies. While serving as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature in 1814 when the British army burned Washington D.C. and started their advance on Baltimore, Buchanan quickly enlisted in a militia cavalry troop from Lancaster. His unit was soon moved to assist in the defense of Baltimore. Upon the troop's arrival he volunteered to help gather spare mounts from behind enemy lines and bring them into the American camp. Though facing possible capture or death Buchanan performed his mission with great credit. After the British defeat and withdraw from the Chesapeake Bay, he was released from active duty. Following service in several governmental posts he was elected president in 1856.

June 2
a member of the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry taken in 1861One of the most famous and poignant photographs to come out of the Civil War is this unidentified young soldier, a member of the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry taken in 1861.
National Archives and Records Administration

1865Galveston, TX - The last Confederate force still in the field surrenders, ending the Civil War. More than 600,000 men died, the vast majority of them serving in state-sponsored units.

June 3

1713Hancock'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.


On this day, the National Guard officially got its name after Congress passed an important act to strengthen the U.S. military. On 3 June 1916, the National Defense Act made the use of the term "National Guard" mandatory for state militias, and the act gave the President the authority to mobilize the Guard during war or national emergencies here, for service or in different parts of the world, for the duration of the event that caused the mobilization. The Act was intended to guarantee the State militias' status as the nation's primary reserve force. In 1933, the National Guard officially became a component of the Army. State militias had been around in some form since the early 1600s and they represent the oldest-known segment of the U.S. defense infrastructure. The role of state militias was frequently mentioned in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, defined the duties of the federal government and the states in forming militias, and using them within the United States. The National Defense Act of 1916 also doubled the number of yearly drills and tripled the number of training days; established the Reserve Officer Training Corps; and paid for 375 new airplanes, thereby creating the Army's first Air Division. President Woodrow Wilson championed the move as part of a preparedness effort related to World War I. The newly formed National Guard's first mission in 1916 was to help Army forces battling Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa on the Mexican border. During World War I, the National Guard accounted for 40 percent of the troop strength in the American Expeditionary Force. The militias or National Guard of the 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia contributed to every military campaign the U.S. had been involved with. The National Guard has a state and federal role. In a state role, it responds to various domestic situations such as fighting forest fires and assisting communities recover from natural disasters. In the state role, the governors have the ability to call up Guard members. The President also has the right to mobilize the Guard, putting members on federal duty status (federal role).

Arkansas Guardsmen of the 206th Coast ArtilleryArkansas Guardsmen of the 206th Coast Artillery down an enemy plane in the defense of Dutch Harbor
Heritage Series

1942Dutch Harbor, AK - In response to the surprise B-25 bomber attacks on Japan staged by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Dolittle in April 1942, the Japanese decided to capture Midway Island 1,000 miles northwest of Hawaii as a staging base to attack Hawaii itself. As part of their plan they deployed a small diversionary force to take several islands in the Aleutian's chain of Alaska. Recently arrived as part of the garrison at the newly developed outpost of Dutch Harbor was Arkansas' 206th Coast Artillery Regiment (Anti-Aircraft). The unit was armed with obsolete 3-inch anti-aircraft guns and water-cooled .50 caliber machine guns. The morning of June 3rd found thick fog lying off the Alaskan coast. The Japanese launched a surprise aerial attack from two aircraft carriers, catching the defenders off-guard. However, within a few minutes the men of the 206th were in action, shooting down one enemy plane and putting up such a heavy rate of fire that Japanese pilots missed their targets while trying to dodge the Arkansan's barrage. The Japanese attacked again the next day, causing some casualties but failing to put the harbor out of action. This was their last attack. The 206th remained as part of the garrison until it was reassigned to the European Theater in 1944.

June 4

1920Washington, DC - The National Defense Act of 1920 is signed into law. This law amended the National Defense Act of 1916 (see June 3rd for more on that law) in two critical ways. First, it required that the Chief of the Militia Bureau be a National Guardsman.With one of their own acting as advocate with the Army's General Staff, relations between the National Guard and the Army improved dramatically during the interwar period. Second, the 1920 law also allowed National Guard officers to serve on the Army's General Staff, and required that the General Staff create joint committees containing equal numbers of Guard, Reserve and Regular officers when considering actions that would affect the Guard and Organized Reserves. The law authorized a National Guard of some 435,000 men, but Congress refused to fund a Guard even half that size throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

34th Infantry DivisionWith little time to celebrate the capture of Rome, men of the 34th Infantry Division continue their advance northward, capturing Pisa in late July 1944.
National Archives and Records Administration

1944Rome, Italy - Allied forces enter the "Eternal City", the first major European capital liberated from Axis control. Among the units contributing to the victory are the 34th (IA, MN, ND, SD), 36th (TX) and 45th (AZ, CO, OK) infantry divisions plus numerous non-divisional units. The celebrations were short-lived as combat operations continued against ever-increasing German resistance. In fact, while the 36th and 45th divisions both would land in southern France in September and fight their way into Germany by war's end, the 34th Division remained fighting fanatical Nazi's in the Po River Valley of northern Italy right up to the end of war.

June 5
member of the Cannon Company, 165th Infantry (NY)Corporal Urban Siergirast takes a quick wash in a pool of rain water during a lull in the fighting on Okinawa. He is a member of the Cannon Company, 165th Infantry (NY), the famous "Fighting 69th" of Civil War and World War I fame.
National Archives and Records Administration

1945Okinawa, Ryukyus Island Group - After almost two months of steady, often bitter fighting, sometimes including "banzai" charges and hand-to-hand combat with fanatical Japanese soldiers intent of dying for the Emperor, New York's 27th "Empire" Infantry Division is in the final stages of the climatic battle for this Japanese island. On this day its advanced elements have finally reached the northern tip of the island, still encountering fierce resistance. The division, part of a joint Army-Marine Corps operation, landed on Okinawa on April 9th. It took part in the northern operations against the outer belt of the Shuri defenses. Although subjected to tremendous naval and aerial bombardment the Japanese, dug into caves and concealed pillboxes, continued to offer a determined defense. With almost every position captured or destroyed the remaining Japanese defenders will surrender on June 9th. This marked the conclusion of the last major battle of World War II. The 27th Division lost 1,844 men killed and nearly 5,000 wounded in the course of this campaign..

June 6
Circular written General Dwight D. EisenhowerCircular written by General Dwight D. Eisenhower explaining the importance of the Normandy invasion on winning the war. These were distributed to every member of the attacking force the night prior to the D-Day landings. Sergeant J. Robert "Bob" Slaughter, a Guard member of Virginia's Company D, 116th Infantry, passed his copy around among the members of Company D to get their signatures (front and back) as they waited to load aboard the landing craft that would take them to Omaha Beach. By nightfall of June 6, about half of these men were dead or wounded.
National Archives and Records Administration

1944Normandy, France - The Allied invasion of France, commonly known as "D-Day" begins as Guardsmen from the 29th Infantry Division (DC, MD, VA) storm onto what will forever after be known as "bloody Omaha" Beach. The lead element, Virginia's 116th Infantry, suffers nearly 80% casualties but gains the foothold needed for the invasion to succeed. The 116's artillery support, the 111th Field Artillery Battalion, also from Virginia, loses all 12 of its guns in high surf trying to get on the beach. Its men take up arms from the dead and fight as infantrymen. Engineer support came from the District of Columbia's 121st Engineer Battalion. Despite high loses too, its men succeed in blowing holes in several obstacles clearing paths for the men to get inland off the beach. In the early afternoon, Maryland's 115th Infantry lands behind the 116th and moves through its shattered remnants to start the movement in off the beach. Supporting the invasion was the largest air fleet known to history. Among the units flying missions were the Guards' 107th (MI) and 109th (MN) Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons The Normandy campaign lasted until the end of July with four Guard infantry divisions; the 28th (PA), 29th, 30th (NC, SC, TN) and the 35th (KS, MO, NE) taking part along with dozens of non-divisional units all earning the "Normandy" streamer.

June 7
The F-100C Super Sabre fighter-bomberThe F-100C Super Sabre fighter-bomber of Captain Michael Adams, of the 188th Tactical Fighter Squadron (NM), returning to Tuy Hoa Air Base after a sortie in April 1969. About two weeks after this image was taken Adams was killed in action when this aircraft was shot down while on a mission
National Archives and Records Administration

1968Tuy Hoa Air Base, Vietnam - New Mexico's 188th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) arrives, becoming the third Air National Guard unit to serve in Vietnam. Combined on June 14th with New York's newly arrived 136th TFS into the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, both squadrons immediately began flying close ground support missions for American troops. These two units are the only Guard units, Air or Army to actually be assigned to the same operational headquarters while serving in Vietnam. During the course of its tour the 188th will fly 6,029 sorties and lose three pilots in combat, including two missing in action and later declared killed. The 136th flew nearly as many sorties, with one pilot killed in combat and three killed in stateside training. One member of the 188th, Sergeant Melvyn S. Montano, will become a commissioned officer after the unit returns home and in December 1994 he is appointed the Adjutant General of New Mexico; the only known enlisted Guardsman serving in Vietnam War to later achieve this position in any state.

June 8
The shoulder patch of today's 30th Infantry BrigadeThe shoulder patch of today's 30th Infantry Brigade was adopted by members of the 30th Division during World War I. The outer circle represents the "O" of 'Old Hickory' while the "H" is evident in the center enclosing the Roman numerals "XXX". National Guard Bureau Historical Files
National Archives and Records Administration

1845The Hermitage, TN - Seventh President Andrew Jackson dies. Born in South Carolina in 1767, Jackson gained his first military experience at the age of 15 when, as a member of a local militia company, he helped to repel a British raiding party in 1782. Later he served in the Tennessee militia, rising to the rank of major general. He was affectionately known by his troops as "Old Hickory" because of his hard but fair discipline. During the War of 1812 he commanded a combined force of Regulars and militiamen in suppressing the Creek Indians in Alabama. His determined leadership soon led to his appointment as a major general in the Regular Army in 1814, just in time to lead a combined Regular and militia force in the defense of New Orleans against a British attack in January 1815. In 1818-1819 he lead a combined army of Regulars and militia in his invasion of western Florida chasing raiding Indians who sought sanctuary in the then Spanish colony. In fact, his action helped induce the Spanish government to sell Florida to the US. Jackson was elected president in 1828. In 1918, the 30th Division, composed of National Guard soldiers from the Carolina's and Tennessee, proudly adopted a division shoulder patch that featured the Roman numerals "XXX" indicating the division's designation surrounded by the letters "OH" for "Old Hickory" in honor of Jackson.

California Guardsmen patrol the streets of San Francisco following the devastating earthquakeTechnical Sergeant Frank Peregory wearing his Soldiers Medal (seen hanging just below tie), 1942
Taken from Joseph Ewing's 29, Let's Go!

1944Grandcamp, Normandy, France - Technical Sergeant Frank Peregory, a Guard member of Company K, 116th Infantry (VA), 29th Infantry Division earns the Medal of Honor by single-handily killing or capturing more than 20 Germans manning a trench that blocked the regiment's advance along the Normandy coast to relieve the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe de Hoc. While the men of his company gave him covering fire, Peregory ran across an open field and entered the trench unseen. Using just his M-1 rifle, bayonet and several hand grenades he cleared the trench in short order. But Peregory had demonstrated his quick thinking under pressure even prior to leaving the United States for combat. In early 1942, as his unit was moving along an icy road in North Carolina one of the trucks slipped down an embankment and plunged into a small river. Two men were trapped under the canvas cover and would soon be drowned. Peregory borrowed a knife from another soldier and jumped into the freezing water to cut the top and brought each man to the bank safely. For this deed he was awarded the Soldiers Medal, the Army's highest decoration for valor, at the risk of one's life, but not related to combat. Unfortunately Peregory never saw his Medal of Honor, he was killed in action ten days later.

General Norman SchwarzkopfGeneral Norman Schwarzkopf leading the Desert Storm National Victory Parade up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The last American general to lead such a parade was General John J. Pershing in 1919, celebrating the American victory over Germany in World War I
National Guard Education Foundation

1991Washington, DC - General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of Allied forces in Operation "Desert Storm" leads the National Victory Parade up Pennsylvania Avenue past the reviewing stand holding President George H.W. Bush and other dignitaries in the first such military parade held in the nation's capital since the end of World War I. Among the contingents of military units are composite battalions of Air and Army Guard personnel who served in theater.

June 9
A detachment of the 3rd Indiana CavalryA detachment of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry on duty as Headquarters Guard of the Army of the Potomac during the Gettysburg campaign. This unit fought at Brandy Station and suffered so many casualties that it was detailed to as a Headquarters guard until it could be reconstituted.
Army Heritage and Education Center

1863Brandy Station, VA - As the Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, started moving northward to take the war to the Union (a move that would eventually end at Gettysburg, PA), General J.E.B. Stuart was tasked to use the Confederate cavalry to screen this movement from Union scouts. But the Federals soon learned of a large rebel presence in area around Culpeper Court House, near a train depot named "Brandy Station." Two Union cavalry corps, numbering some 11,000 men were dispatched as a "reconnaissance in force" when it clashed with Stuart's 9,000 man mounted force. This set the stage for the largest cavalry engagement ever fought on the North American continent. Perhaps the toughest fighting of the day occurred when the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry collided with 10th Virginia Cavalry. In a scene reminiscent of a movie there was a swirling, melee as sabers flashed and dust was kicked up by injured and frightened horses. The 10th Virginia was about to give way when the 9th Virginia Cavalry galloped into the fray and caused so much damage to the 6th PA that it pulled back to regroup. The type of combat experienced by these three units was repeated in numerous encounters over an area of several square miles as nearly 20,000 men and horses charged into each other much as waves clash onto a beach, only to recede to regroup and charge again. At the end of the day the Confederates held the ground but the Union cavalry, which up to this point in the war had proved ineffective against the rebels, held its own in most of the engagement. The number of Union dead was 852 while the Confederates lost 515 men. Thousands of horses were killed or injured and had to be destroyed. The 6th PA Cavalry was organized by Colonel Richard Rush in Philadelphia in July 1861, by raising new recruits and combining them with an existing mounted volunteer militia unit from Berks County. The men were issued ten foot lances then popular with European light cavalry. Known as "Rush's Lancers" they were high-trained, which was enhanced by their assignment to a brigade of five Regular Army cavalry squadrons under the command of Brigadier General John Buford. By the time of the Battle of Brandy Station the Lancers had traded their lances for Sharps carbine rifles. However several veterans later regretted not having retained the lances as they would have been more effective in the melee than letting their opponent get close enough to use his saber.

June 10
The Air National Guard contingentThe Air National Guard contingent marching down the "Canyon of Heroes" in the New York City Desert Storm Victory Parade. Note the large yellow ribbon in the background welcoming the troops home.
National Guard Bureau Historical Files

1991New York, NY - For the second time in three days the nation witness's a "Victory Parade" to celebrate the quick defeat and expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in Operation "Desert Storm." Among the marching units is the New York Guard's 719th Transportation Company, a descendent of the all-black 369th Infantry which gained fame as the "Harlem Hellfighters" in World War I. This parade is the first military ‘victory' parade held in Manhattan's "Canyon of Heroes" since the end of the World War II. While General Douglas MacArthur was given a ‘ticker-tape' parade by the city in 1951 (after being relieved of his command in Korea by President Truman), no "victory parade" was offered by the city after the end of the Korean or Vietnam wars. So when the plans for the Desert Storm parade were made, special announcements were made to Korean and Vietnam veteran's organizations welcoming them to join in the march.

June 11
Private First Class Veronica AcostaPrivate First Class Veronica Acosta of the 111th Area Support Medical Battalion, Texas Army National Guard, provides medical treatment during her unit's annual training in Belize. The Perpich decision allowed the Guard of the 1990s to train in Latin America, a mission which continues today.
National Guard Bureau Historical Files

1990Washington, DC - The Supreme Court unanimously rules to deny the appeal of Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich in the case of Perpich vs. the Department of Defense.In 1986 several governors opposed to President Reagan's policies in Central America refused to allow their Guard units to participate in exercises there. That fall, Congress, led by Mississippi Congressmen and longtime Guard ally G V "Sonny" Montgomery, passed an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act which prevented governors from withholding units from federal training in the future. Governor Rudy Perpich of Minnesota took the lead in challenging the new law, but after losing several appeals, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the law's constitutionality in 1990. The Montgomery Amendment essentially ended any power a governor might have to veto peacetime federal training for their Guard units, barring a civil emergency that required the active use of those troops in the state.

June 12
Colonel George WashingtonColonel George Washington in the uniform of the Virginia Regiment, 1772. Washington would have been similarly dressed when he accompanied Braddock's expedition in 1755.
>Washington/Custis/Lee Collection, Washington and Lee University

1755Fort Necessity, PA - A combined British and colonial army camp at the site of the stockade built by Major George Washington of the Virginia militia the year before during his failed attempt to capture Fort Duquesne (on the site of present day Pittsburgh) from the French. England and France, though technically not yet at war, both claim the area of western Pennsylvania and Ohio as their own. Washington, under orders from Virginia's governor in 1754 to secure the fort, failed and was forced to surrender his small army of colonial soldiers of the French, who let them return home. The British government now became involved and dispatched Major General Edward Braddock to take the fort. His army, numbering some 2,000 men, includes two regiments of British regulars as well as militia men from Virginia and Maryland. Braddock, who had met and become friends with Washington, took him along as a staff officer and advisor. The English, unused to fighting in a frontier environment, make slow progress as they hack a road through the wilderness for their baggage wagons. One of the teamsters is a young Daniel Morgan from Winchester, VA. He got into a fight with a British officer and was given 200 lashes. From that day on he will have a burning hatred of the British which he repays during the Revolution when he first commands an elite corps ofAmerican riflemen, helping to win the great victory at Saratoga. Later, though in poor health he is in command of the American army that wins the decisive victory of Cowpens. Despite Washington's council to leave the wagons and move a ‘flying column' to take the fort, Braddock ignores the advice and would soon lead his army, much of it strung out along the road for over a mile, into a devastating defeat.

June 13
Members of Hawaii's 298th Artillery GroupMembers of Hawaii's 298th Artillery Group prepare to test fire their Nike Hercules missiles at the Oahu Test Range
Heritage Series

1966Oahu, Hawaii - With the onset of the Cold War and the threat of long-range Soviet nuclear bombers, the Guard wrote a new chapter in its history of homeland defense. Beginning in 1954, thousands of Army Guardsmen manned antiaircraft artillery positions across the country, adopting for the first time a federal mission while in a state status. In the late 1950s the Guard began transitioning from guns to longer-ranged and more lethal missiles. For exactly 16 years, from September 1958 to September 1974, the Army Guard manned Nike-Ajax and Nike-Hercules missile batteries in an operational status. At the height of the program in 1969, 17 states (CA, CT, HI, IL, MD, MA, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, VA, WA, WI) provided more than 7,000 soldiers to staff 54 missile batteries around sixteen key metropolitan areas. The Hawaii Guard's 298th Artillery Group was the first National Guard unit to adopt the Nike-Hercules missile, becoming operational in early 1960. Hawaii was also the only state to man all of its firing batteries with Guardsmen; in the continental United States the Guard manned about a third of all Nike sites. While the rest of the Nike force conducted its annual live fire practices at the White Sands Missile Range in NM, the Hawaii Guard was unique in that it conducted its annual live-fire certifications from mobile launchers firing off the north shore of the island of Oahu. It was during such an exercise that Battery B, 1st Missile Battalion, 298th Artillery Group recorded the longest successful Nike-Hercules missile intercept of a target. The advent of the intercontinental ballistic missiles in the 1960s led to cut backs in the Nike program by the early 1970s. The entire program ended in 1974. Though no missile was ever fired in anger, the duty encompassed a 24-hour watch, 365 days a year and thousands of alerts. Guardsmen had demonstrated their ability to conduct real-world missions while in a part-time, state-controlled, status, in the process proudly adopting for themselves the title "Missile-Age Miuntemen."

June 14

1775Philadelphia, PA - The Continental Congress authorized the creation of the United States Army when the militia army surrounding the British army in Boston is created into the "Continental Army." The same day Congress authorized ten rifle companies, six from Pennsylvania, two from Maryland and two from Virginia (including one from present day West Virginia) for Continental service. On June 22nd the Pennsylvania allotment is increased to eight companies and organized into a separate rifle battalion, the senior Continental Army battalion. Every year the Army celebrates its "birthday" on this date, making it the oldest continuous federal agency in the nation.

Sergeant Arthur D. Evans (in soft cap) and Airman First Class George B. RobertsSergeant Arthur D. Evans (in soft cap) and Airman First Class George B. Roberts both of the 136th Tactical Fighter Squadron (NY) man a bunker on the perimeter of Tuy Hoa Air Base. These men were mechanics but, like most other enlisted Air Guardsmen serving in Vietnam, they still had to pull a shift at guard duty as part of their assignment.
National Guard Education Foundation

1968Tuy Hoa Air Base, Vietnam - New York's 136th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) arrives, making it the last Air National Guard unit to deploy to Vietnam. Organized along with New Mexico's 188th TFS into the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, this marks the only time any two Guard units, Air or Army, served together in Vietnam. Like the other three Air Guard squadrons serving in Vietnam, this unit was equipped with F-100 Super Sabre fighter-bombers. While capable of engaging in air-to-air combat, their primary role in Vietnam was flying ground support missions such as bombing enemy troop concentrations and suspected supply dumps to strafing and bombing enemy formations attacking American or South Vietnamese bases.

June 15

1933Washington, DC - The National Guard Status Act of 1933, creating a dual status for Guardsmen, is signed into law. This little-known but critical legislation finally solved a Constitutional dilemma that had troubled the Army and Guardsmen since 1903. Despite all the laws passed from 1903 to 1933 increasing the readiness of the Guard to serve as a reserve of the Army, the Guard remained the militia of the states according to the Constitution. It was thus limited in its federal service to the three purposes specified in the Constitution: executing the laws of the union, suppressing insurrections and repelling invasions. In order to remove Guardsmen from these restrictions imposed on the militia, the federal government drafted each National Guardsman for World War I, thus legally removing him from the militia and placing him in the Army. Guardsmen universally resented being drafted, since they all considered themselves volunteers. However, they also did not wish in peacetime to surrender the independence from Army control that membership in the state-controlled militia conferred, and (barring an amendment to the Constitution) they could not simultaneously be members of both a state and a federal military force, no matter how the law was written. The solution to this problem was developed in the 1920s after considerable study by leaders of the National Guard Association of the United States. When it was finally passed by Congress in 1933, the National Guard Status Act created a new federal reserve component of the Army called "The National Guard of the United States." This new reserve component would only be populated when the Guard was ordered into federal service; at all other times this federal reserve would have only an inactive "shadow" existence, its personnel residing in identical units of the Organized Militia (called "The National Guard of the several States, Territories, and the District of Columbia") under state control. The law also changed the name of the Army staff organization that oversaw the National Guard from the Militia Bureau to the National Guard Bureau

June 16
Soldiers of Oregon's 186th InfantrySoldiers of Oregon's 186th Infantry capture a Japanese naval gun as they slowly succeed in reducing the Japanese hold on Biak Island.
Heritage Series

1944Biak Island, Dutch New Guinea - Elements of the 41st Infantry Division (ID, MT, OR, WA) overrun Japanese defenses based upon a series of caves and pillboxes. Second Battalion, 186th Infantry (OR), after climbing a steep hill under intense enemy fire, succeed in capturing the position, which included a naval gun. When the American forces landed in late May it was expected they secure the island and its vital airstrip in just a few days. Instead they found a deeply entrenched enemy, often fighting from caves, that dragged the combat into August and cost more than 400 American lives.

June 17
Militiamen from several coloniesMilitiamen from several colonies await the advancing British Army as the erroneously named "Battle ofBunker Hill" is about to begin. General Israel Putnam from Connecticut shouted down the line for his men to "hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes!". Painting by Ken Riley for the National Guard Bureau
National Archives and Records Administration

1775Charles Town, MA - American militia repulse two determined British Army attacks upon the temporary breastworks they constructed on Breed's Hill (though commonly referred to as "Bunker Hill"). With militiamen's gun powder running low, when the third assault came the British carried the entrenchments, inflicting a number of casualties with the bayonet, which few Americans had available. Though the battle was a British victory, their losses were so high that nearly a third of all their officers killed in the Revolution died in this one battle.

June 18
Fourth President of the United States James MadisonFourth President of the United States James Madison served as the Colonel of the Orange County Regiment (VA) during the American Revolution. Painting by Chet Jezierski for the National Guard Bureau Presidential Series

1812Washington, DC - Congress declares war against Great Britain at request of President James Madison, who served during the Revolution as the Colonel of the Orange County (VA) Regiment (though he never lead it into combat; his role as a member of Congress was considered too important for him to be possibly killed or captured), asked for war because the Royal Navy (then at war against Napoleon) was taking American seamen off of U.S. merchant ships, claiming they were deserters from the British Navy.

Guardsmen of an unidentified Massachusetts infantryGuardsmen of an unidentified Massachusetts infantry regiment marching near El Paso, TX, while training during the Mexican border crisis. Note this unit is carrying its state flag rather than a regimental or battalion flag as is the custom today
Massachusetts Military Museum

1916Washington DC - President Woodrow Wilson, acting only fifteen days after he signed the historic National Defense Act of 1916, calls up most of the National Guard for duty along the Mexican Border. Because the National Guard was called up under the militia clause of the Constitution, it was restricted to service within the borders of the United States to "repel invasion" by Pancho Villa's bandits. By July 31st, more then 110,000 Guardsmen had joined the 5,000 AZ, TX, and NM Guardsmen who had previously been called for service on the border in May. The Guard's deployment freed General John Pershing to lead an expeditionary force composed of Army regulars into Mexico in a futile attempt to track down Villa. Over 40,000 Guardsmen were still serving on the border when war was declared against Germany in April 1917. The border experience proved valuable training for the Guard prior to World War I, particularly because it gave officers and men extensive experience in working with large formations of troops that could rarely be assembled in peacetime.

Unit emblem of the 118th Observation SquadronUnit emblem of the 118th Observation Squadron. Though adopted prior to World War II (as seen in photos from the1930s) it was not officially authorized until August 1953. It depicts the Connecticut colonial secretary running with the colony's charter. The fleur-de-lis indicates the unit served in France in World War I (though not as a Guard organization, coming into the Guard only in 1936.)
National Guard Education Foundation

1944Kewilin, China - Members of Connecticut's 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, formerly the Guard's 118th Observation Squadron, begin flying missions as part of the 23rd Fighter Group. This Group was an outgrowth of the "Flying Tigers" who gained great prewar fame as an elite American unit of volunteer pilots fighting the Japanese. While flying over enemy lines the 118th was often engaged by Japanese fighters. During the course of the war, the squadron produced five pilots earning the designation of "ace", meaning they single-handily shot down at least five enemy aircraft. Four other Guard aerial units also served in the China-Burma-India Theater, their prewar designations were: 103rd (PA), 115th (CA), 123rd (OR), 127th (KS) observation squadrons.

June 19
General George WashingtonA confident and determined General George Washington as rendered by artist Rembrandt Peale, 1823 (though based upon a life study Peale made in 1795)
Courtesy Mount Vernon Ladies Association

1778Valley Forge, PA - The Continental Army, under the command of General George Washington, marches from its winter encampment to engage the British Army then preparing to abandon Philadelphia and march overland back to New York City. The two armies would fight at Monmouth Court House, NJ, on June 28th. The army Washington took into this battle was far better trained and disciplined than any American force had been prior to this period, due to the strict guidelines established by General Baron von Steuben while training the troops at Valley Forge.

2nd Battalion, 138th Artillery (KY)A 1¼ ton truck of Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 138th Artillery (KY) destroyed by the North Vietnamese attack on Camp Tomahawk.
Courtesy of Mr. David Parrish

1969Fire Base Tomahawk, Vietnam - During a chilly, rainy, very black night North Vietnamese (NVA) soldiers infiltrate this base shared by a platoon of infantrymen from the 101st Airborne Division and Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 138th Artillery from Bardstown, Kentucky. Starting at 1:45 AM the enemy launch their surprise attack, using satchel charges containing 10-15 pounds of TNT and rocket-propelled grenades. Their mission was to destroy all six of the M-109 self-propelled howitzers belonging to Battery C which had been firing effective supporting missions for nearby American forces. After about two hours of confused and heavy fighting during which the Guardsmen played a key role in repulsing the attack, the enemy finally withdrew. The NVA succeeded in destroying four of the six howitzers along with other vehicles and equipment. The human cost was high too. The 101st had four men killed and 13 wounded. The highest losses were suffered by the gunners from Kentucky. The Battery had nine men killed; five of them were from Bardstown and the other four were non-Guard replacements from various, non-Kentucky, locations. And the unit suffered 37 wounded, most of them Guardsmen. In the 1960s Nelson County, Kentucky (location of Bardstown), had a total population of about 30,000. During the Vietnam War it lost a total of seven Guardsmen and four other men serving in other units. This is the highest per capita rate of loss suffered by any community during the war. Today Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery is still a Guard unit in Bardstown. Its ranks are filled with men, some of them the sons or grandsons of the Vietnam Guardsmen.

June 20
Men of the 71st New York Volunteer InfantryMen of the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry marching in Cuba in 1898. An watercolor painting rendered by Private Charles Johnson Post, a member of the regiment. Post became a famous artist and produced a number of watercolors of his experiences during the war
Army Art Collection

1898Daiquiri, Cuba - As the American Navy blockades the Spanish fleet in Santiago Harbor, the U.S. Army lands at this little port close to Santiago. They have come to aid Cuban revolutionaries to gain their freedom from Spanish colonial rule. Among the 16,200 troops coming ashore are two Guard volunteer infantry regiments; the 2nd Massachusetts and the 71st New York. Joining them is the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, composed in part of Guardsmen from Arizona and New Mexico. The regiment's executive officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, would gain national fame (and the Medal of Honor) by leading them in action at Kettle and San Juan Hills on July 1st.

June 21
Preamble of the United States Constitution.Preamble of the United States Constitution.

1788Concord, NH - New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution. As the ninth state to do so, this makes the Constitution binding on all 13 states. The colonial militia was a key institution underlying the new republic; as stipulated in Article 1, Section 8, "The Congress shall have Power . . . To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions" and "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."The President was empowered in Article 2, Section 2 to "be Commander in Chief . of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States."

June 22
An M-7 Priest of the 213th Armored Field Artillery Battalion firing missions in the spring of 1951An M-7 Priest of the 213th Armored Field Artillery Battalion firing missions in the spring of 1951
National Guard Education Foundation

1952South Korea - Utah's 213th Armored Field Artillery Battalion is awarded the Distinguished (now Presidential) Unit Citation for its stubborn defense of Sanghong-Jong-Ni during the Communist Chinese offensive of April 1951. The battalion, one of two from Utah in Korea, is among the eleven non-divisional National Guard field artillery battalions serving in country. Equipped with M-7 Priest self-propelled, 105mm howitzers it fired missions in support of the IX Corps. Among the units supported during this crisis was the 1st Marine Division, 16th New Zealand Artillery Regiment and a battalion of Australian infantry. The unit remained in Korea until after the armistice ended the fighting in July 1953.

June 23
Soldiers of Illinois' 131st Infantry, 33rd DivisionSoldiers of Illinois' 131st Infantry, 33rd Division in the Meuse sector of France in October 1918
National Archives and Records Administration

1918Martainneville, Amiens, France - Men of the 66th Brigade and 122nd Machine Gun Battalion, elements of the 33rd Division, organized entirely from Illinois National Guard units, conducts several days of training in defensive operations with the British XIX Corps. By July the division is deemed ready for combat and will be committed to the front near the River Somme. By war's end the division earns five campaign streamers, captures more than 4,000 prisoners and has nine members awarded the Medal of Honor.

June 24

1675Massachusetts Bay Colony - The Wampanoag Indians launch a series of surprise attacks on outlying farms on the opening day of what has come to be known as "King Philip's War." The conflict, which included areas of western Massachusetts, plus Rhode Island and Connecticut, lasted until Philip was killed by Indians scouting for Benjamin Church in August 1676.

June 26
F-84E ThunderjetDuring the ensuing dogfight, 1st Lt. Arthur E. Oligher assisted by Capt. Harry Underwood, shot down a MIG-15--the first Air Guard jet "kill." The Air National Guard went on to make an impressive combat flying record. Today's 182d Tactical Fighter Squadron, Texas Air National Guard continues to add to its impressive flying record.
Heritage Series

1951In the skies over North Korea - During the Korean War over 45,000 Air Guardsmen, serving in 22 Wings and other units, were mobilized. Texas' 136th Fighter-Bomber Wing was in the first increment to be called in September 1950. Flying F-84E Thunderjet aircraft it was the first of two Air Guard Wings deployed to Korea, arriving in June 1951. The three flying squadrons of the 136th soon entered combat as escorts for B-29 bombers attacking targets over a portion of North Korea patrolled by Soviet-built enemy fighters called "MiG's." Enemy fighters patrolled the area so thickly that American pilots soon referred to it as "MiG Alley." It was during one such mission on this date that First Lieutenant Arthur Oligher of the 182nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron (TX), one of the three squadrons in the 136th Wing, shot down a MiG with the help of Captain Harry Underwood. This would be the first of several "kills" of enemy aircraft that Guard pilots would score in the months to come. The 182nd Fighter Squadron, flying F-16 Falcon fighters, remains a part of the Texas Air Guard today.

June 27
M-4 Sherman tankAn M-4 Sherman tank with a "rhino plow" attached in front has just punched its way through a Norman hedgerow. Note the infantrymen riding on the back of the tank.
National Archives and Records Administration

1944Normandy, France - In the days since D-Day (June 6) the Allies have become bogged down by the Norman hedgerows that provide perfect defensive positions for the Germans. Made of stone walls overgrown by centuries of intertwined vines and trees, and rising to heights of ten feet in places, they prove almost indestructible even to tanks trying to push through. So tanks had to come to gaps in the walls, where German artillery would often be waiting to destroy them. Then Sergeant Curtis Culin, a Guard member of New Jersey's 102nd Cavalry Squadron, develops the idea of taking the iron road obstacles placed by the retreating Germans, fabricating them into a ‘plow' affixed to the front of a tank that then allows it to ‘cut' its way through the hedgerow. This allowed the tanks to break through in any unpredictable location, confounding the enemy's traps. Known as "rhino tanks" more than 300 are so equipped and help to speed up the Allied advance. Sergeant Culin was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for his idea.

June 28
Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island Near CharlestonLithographic print "Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island Near Charleston, June 28, 1776" showing Sergeant Jasper replacing the fallen 2nd South Carolina flag. The uniforms depicted are more mid-19th century than Revolutionary war in style. Color lithograph by Heppenmeimer & Maurer, NYC, 1875.
Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

1776Charles Town (today Charleston), SC - A British fleet attempting to capture the largest city in the south must first force "Fort Moultrie" (named for its commander, Colonel William Moultrie, of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment of Foot) to surrender. After a bombardment of several hours and a failed assault landing the enemy fleet is compelled to sail away. During this engagement the 2nd's blue flag bearing a silver crescent was cut down by a cannonball. Sergeant William Jasper, while exposing himself to enemy fire, transferred the color onto a cannon rammer and hoisted it again above the battlements. Today the South Carolina state flag bears the same silver crescent and the Palmetto Tree, logs of which were used to build the fort.

1778Monmouth, NJ - On an extremely hot and humid afternoon, and after some initial confusion in part of the American Army, General George Washington rallies and leads his soldiers forward to fight "toe-to-toe" with British regulars. The British Army had evacuated Philadelphia and was marching overland to New York City. The American Army, composed in large measure with former militiamen who volunteered for regular service, had spent the winter at Valley Forge being trained to fight like European soldiers by the Baron von Steubon. Its first test came when Washington caught up with the British rear guard and, in one of the costliest battles of the war (many men on both sides died from heat exhaustion), fought the enemy to a stand-still. Despite repeated British attempts to force the Americans off the field, they gave no ground. At the end of the day the Americans held the battlefield as the royal army resumed its march north. Both sides claimed victory, but for the Americans it proved especially important because for the first time they had fought like a European army and held their own against repeated attacks.

Major General George RickardsMajor General George Rickards, the first Guardsman to be appointed Chief of the National Guard Bureau
National Guard Education Foundation

1921Washington DC - The U.S. Senate confirms Pennsylvania Colonel George Rickards as the first National Guardsman to serve as Chief of the Militia Bureau (today's National Guard Bureau). Rickards was a veteran of 43 years of service, having commanded the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Spanish-American War and on the Mexican Border, then taking his regiment (under the new federal designation 112th Infantry) to France in World War I. Before the war was over, Rickards commanded the 56th Brigade of the 28th Division. After the war Rickards volunteered for federal service and became one of the first Guardsmen assigned to the War Department General Staff.The National Defense Act of 1920 turned over leadership of the Militia Bureau from a regular officer to a Guardsman, and stipulated that the President would select the Chief of the Militia Bureau from a list of eligible officers nominated by the governors, with the Senate confirming the appointment. Rickards, initially selected by President Wilson in December 1919, had to wait six months to be confirmed by the Senate due to the protests of several senators that the President had not selected the officer nominated by the majority of the governors, Charles Martin, the politically powerful Adjutant General of Kansas. However, Wilson refused to change his mind and when Rickards was re-nominated for the position by President Harding in early 1920 the Senate finally relented and confirmed Rickards. He served until his retirement in 1925.

June 29
A View of the Landing (of) the New England Forces"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 shows 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

1745Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia - After a 47 day siege conducted entirely by New England militiamen, the great fortress of "Louisbourg" surrenders to the colonial army commanded by General William Pepperrell. What many European military "experts" thought impossible the militia did with professional determination in a very short period of time. The fortress, built in the 1720s by the French to protect the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and French Canada, boasted a protected harbor which in times of war allowed French privateers safe sanctuary from which they could sail to raid British and colonial fishing and merchant fleets. War broke out between Britain and France in 1741 and by 1745 the raids were causing great financial loss to the New England colonies. When England refused to send a naval force to stop the attacks the colonial governments agreed to launch their own expedition to capture Louisbourg and stop the raids. From four colonies; Massachusetts (including present day Maine), Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire a total of 4,200 volunteers were taken from the militia. In a first of its kind operation in British North America each colony furnished different items needed to make the entire expedition a success. Some furnished camp equipment while others furnished food and other supplies. They amassed funds to buy powder and shot from England. After the surrender many Americans felt betrayed when England returned the fortress to France as part of the peace agreement. For his superb leadership William Pepperrell was knighted by King George II, becoming the only Baronet in the history of Massachusetts. Many of the lessons learned of inter-colony cooperation would be recalled in 1775 as Americans fought for their liberty from England.