US "Home Guard"

Discussion in 'USA' started by Slipdigit, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    One of you knowledgable gentlemen from the UK (I think it was Owen) asked me if the US had an equivalent to the Home Guard during World War II. I replied that no, we didn't not in the sense of the Home Guard's mission during the Second World War. We had, and still have, National Guardsmen who were part-time soldiers, a militia if you wish, and were incorporated into the US Army in 1940. Up until just a few years ago, the National Guard in my state, Alabama, was larger than most other country's entire military.

    I got to thinking and remembered seeing an article several years ago on a webpage about several states forming state-funded militias after the call up of the Guard. They did this help fill in some of the duties that the Guard had served prior to federalization, such as assistance during a local crisis or natural disaster or to serve as a enforcement arm of the state government when needed, such a during a violent labor strike.

    Anyway, I found these pages:

    Alabama State Defense Force about 3/4 down the page

    Those Who Stayed Behind: The Georgia State Guard In World War II

    The South Carolina State Guard in World War II June/ai_n6123963/pg_1

    Recalling the role of the Florida State Guard

    I know that there were other organizatons in other states, but I can't find more. The page regarding Alabama references California's State Guard.

    I also wonder if the Federales in Washington would allow the states the authority to form their own, independent militia nowadays. Somehow I doubt it.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Not guilty, Your Honour.
    Cheers anyway.
    Met some of your National Guardsmen back in '87 at Sennybridge.
    Nice blokes, especially the Vietnam mortarman Veteran.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It was me mate,
    it occurs to me that I know next to nothing about American Civil defence during the war, not much joy on the internet either.

    It seems many National Guard formations were absorbed into the 'mainstream' army, were those left behind envisioned in a similar role as the Home guard? Did the militia system kick off? Nationally or locally organised? 'Citizens service corps' mentioned on the poster but this appears to be more of a 'dig for victory' type of organisation?

    Any tips appreciated.

    Thanks a lot for those. I'll plough through 'em properly tomorrow. Already looks on a quick shufti that there's familiar seeming shots of older chaps in uniform (like ones of our LDV/Home Guard) but in an American context.
    Nice one.

  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Well, you Brits all sound alike to me, so it coulda been any one of you.
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Well, I guess it was you VP. Your memory is so much better than mine.
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Most of my father's brothers were in the Guard, one serving in Desert Storm. He was less than 6 months from his 20 years and out when they were mobilized.

    A good friend of my father's had already turned in his papers after 30 and was waiting on paper work when Saddam rolled into Kuwait. He got out a year later.

    In years past, the Guard was very big here and in other Southern states.
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Virginia had a uniformed State Guard which assumed the state missions of the state National Guard units during the war. Today there is a Virginia Defense Force which serves the same purpose as well as additional manpower when the National Guard is called to service by the Governor.

    Several states have modern day Defense Forces for this purpose. The easiest description of the present units is that the defense force is to the national guard and its state missions as the national guard is to the army and its federal missions.

  8. Doc

    Doc Senior Member

    The Alaska Territorial Guard served much the same purpose. Doc
  9. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    The Hawaii Territorial Guard was activated two hours after the attacks of Dec. 7th, and on duty by nightfall.

  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I was speaking to one of my great uncles about the State Guard. He said that one of his wife's brother was a member. He was 4F but wanted to serve so he joined the group.
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

  12. CWV

    CWV Junior Member

    Great thread!

    I was a member of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) for nearly three years, serving with 8th Military Police (MP) Brigade RSD (Regimental Support Detachment), which before the reorganization was 8th (Cavalry) Brigade, Terry's Texas Rangers, for which our unit carried the guidon and streamers from this Civil War unit.

    Here are some great links:

    Texas State Guard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Home - Texas State Guard

    Here is a good primer on the unit during WWII:

    In October, 1940, the U. S. Congress authorized the states to organize forces in addition to the National Guard while any part of the National Guard of the state was in active federal service.

    The Texas Legislature passed the Defense Act, HB 45, and the Governor signed the bill on 10 February 1941. This time, a force was organized, with the task falling to Brigadier General J. Watt Page, the Adjutant General of Texas. Within a year, the Texas Defense Guard numbered 17,497 officers and enlisted men. This number was in sharp contrast to the 11,633 members of the Texas National Guard mustered into federal service some months before. The Texas Defense Guard was organized into fifty independent battalions, each composed of a varying number of companies and a headquarters.

    No equipment was issued to the units initially, and each individual had to provide his own uniform. Although the Guard inherited the unspent appropriations of the National Guard, the funds were not adequate for the equipping and maintenance of the new organization. In 1941, the Legislature passed an emergency appropriation of $65,000 to provide for munitions and other supplies. This was obviously inadequate, and Texas Defense Guard units sought out civic clubs and the like for sponsorship and financial support. On 24 July 1941, the War Department issued a limited number of surplus rifles for the Defense Guard's use. Less than a year later, the rifles were returned to the War Department to cover Army shortages. A motley assortment of shotguns was then provided for TDG use.
    The 48th Legislature amended the original legislation and on 12 May 1943, the Texas Defense Guard became the Texas State Guard.

    [​IMG]Along with its new name, Texas State Guard received the shoulder patch which is worn by its members today. it was designed by Captain Joseph C. Luther, 36th Battalion, of San Antonio, and was approved in July, 1943. In the latter part of that same year, the War Department again issued rifles and machine guns to the Guard, though the number issued was by no means adequate. Additional support was provided by the U. S. Army's Eighth Service Command, which provided training assistance, conducted a series of schools for State Guard officers and noncommissioned officers, and provided some logistical support. In 1944, the State Guard was issued a variety of military vehicles, and by April 1945 the value of federal property furnished to the State Guard was estimated to total approximately $15,000,000.
    Purposes for the State Guard were varied and constantly changing during World War II. For the most part, the Guard was organized as infantry and trained as such.

    Though the focus changed as the war progressed and perceptions of threats changed, an early preoccupation with invasion was evident in the large scale maneuvers along the Rio Grande. Texas State Guard participated in a variety of disaster assistance roles in connection with the same types of natural disasters which have drawn the attention of State Guard in more recent years. A major disaster operation of the war years found Texas State Guard troops evacuating hurricane victims from parts of Corpus Christi and other low-lying coastal areas.
    Perhaps the most notable operation of that period was conducted at Beaumont in June, 1943

    Rumors of a racial incident resulted in a series of lawless acts that saw the death of two men and injury of ten more. Marital law was declared by the Acting Governor upon the request of the City's Mayor, George Cary. Even before this was done, the Adjutant General, Brigadier General Arthur B. Knickerbocker, had nine Texas State Guard battalions on the move for Beaumont or already in the city. By the next morning, 112 officers and 1,133enlisted men were on duty. Contemporary news accounts reported that troops arrived in every conceivable form of transportation.
    The force was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Sidney C. Mason and included a local battalion which had been on duty the day before marital law was declared. The State Guard had been given the task of securing the City and County jails, since tensions had been so high that it was feared that mobs might attempt to remove prisoners and harm them. Some of Texas State Guard's troops remained on duty in Beaumont for as long as a week. Logistics support was made difficult in a crowded city where housing and dining establishments were not adequate for the civilian population.

    As is often the case, the rumors which had given birth to the calamity turned out to be unfounded. But the State Guard had done the job assigned to it. Order was restored and the troops were relieved from duty to return to their home stations. One Guardsman, teen-aged Private Raymond E. Howard, spent anxious hours of duty in the Beaumont riot. He subsequently enlisted in the Army and some years later returned to Texas State Guard. At the time of his retirement from State Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in February, 1988, he was believed to be the last serving member of the Guard who had participated in the conduct of martial law operations.

    We recently received information that after LTC Howard's retirement Bud Hooper returned to the Texas State Guard after many years away. Bud had also been an under-aged participant in that same event. Bud Hooper was a private when he went to Beaumont in 1943. When he came back into the TSG, he was initially appointed a Major. He served in several assignments as a member of what is now the 8th Regiment, including that of XO and later commander the old 203d MP Battalion. He held a variety of staff assignments along the way, too. He was promoted to LTC and was retired from the Texas State Guard when he died in June of 1998.
    The membership of State Guard changed frequently as people were added and others left.

    During 1943, 6,000 recruits enlisted in a single one-week period. Another 8,346 soldiers left the Guard to enter the U. S. Armed Forces. Throughout most of State Guard's history, enlistment has been limited to those who had attained the age of eighteen or, with parental consent, seventeen. The War Department realized during World War II that State Guards provided useful training and authorized the service of young men at age sixteen with state concurrence and parental consent.

    Texas accommodated the War Department and opened ranks to troops in that age bracket. Inevitably, some "stretched" their ages and slipped in at even more tender ages. One such enlistee was fifteen year-old James T. Dennis. He was destined to finish a long and distinguished military career by serving as the Adjutant General of Texas from 1985 to 1989. More than one young State Guardsman who later entered federal service gave credit to State Guard training for rapid advancement in the U. S. Armed Forces.
    Women were not accepted as full-fledged members of the Texas State Guard during the early days.

    But, they subsequently became recognized members of the Guard and were entitled to the same opportunities for advancement open to men. During the war years, there were numerous "ladies' auxiliaries" whose dedicated members served as drivers, mastered first aid, and performed other mission-essential tasks. In later years, women became members of line units of the Texas State Guard and now serve in a wide variety of commissioned and enlisted assignments. They have held command and staff assignments and have served in military police roles. Women have not been relegated to behind-the-scenes clerical roles, but have taken their places in crowd control lines, on traffic control posts, guard assignments and any other activities in which their male counterparts were engaged.

    Although interest in the State Guard had decreased with the end of World War II, it continued to exist and in April, 1947, served in a second tour of duty under martial law. This time the setting was a disaster at Texas City, where a freighter had exploded and some 398 people were killed and about 4,000 were injured. It was only a few weeks later, on 7 May 1947, that Texas State Guard was disbanded, its colors cased, and all remaining members placed on the inactive list.
    Slipdigit likes this.
  13. Mr. K L. Bowers

    Mr. K L. Bowers New Member

    A little late for this post, but I just joined the Group.

    In February 1941, the Maryland National Guard was ordered to federal service. The Maryland General Assembly authorized the creation of a State Guard to provide security and aid in absence of the National Guard.

    Following Pearl Harbor, it was determined a much greater force was needed to deal with the potential attack by enemy parachute troops, landing forces and 5th columnist Nazi sympathizers.

    On March 10, 1942, Governor Herbert L. Conor called for volunteers to enlist in militia units to be known as the “Maryland Minute Men”. The men were to provide their own arms, ammunition, equipment and uniforms.

    Washington County Maryland issued dark green coveralls with over seas caps and MM armbands as a standard uniform.

    Their primary function was to guard critical points in the state. The units from the eastern shore patrolled the beaches to guard against the landing of saboteurs from German U-Boats.

    Attached Files:

    David Layne likes this.
  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    The Bedford Boys is a sad chapter in National Guard history.
    The US Army was a melting pot with men from all over the country serving in the same units but nationalized National Guard units were made up of men from the same region and often the same town.

    The tiny town of Bedford, Virgina lost 23 of the 34 men serving in 29th Infantry Division at Normandy, which was a former National Guard unit.

    National D-Day Memorial - Wikipedia

Share This Page