ARMED CIVILIAN AND WORLD WAR II
organized Militia or National Guard serves an important function in peace
as well as war. It is a trained force available to the governor of the
state, in emergency situations such as flood, earthquake, or
hurricane, riot or insurrection. It is a trained force available to
supplement the established armed forces at the call of the president.
the National Guard is called away from their home communities, and those
communities are left unprepared for emergency conditions, the unorganized
Militia may be called to fill in for the absent National Guard.
September 16, 1940, President Roosevelt ordered the National Guard units
of 15 states to active duty. The units of the remaining 33 states were
activated by June of 1941. By June 30, 1941, with the National Guard units
on active duty, the governors of 37 states called up the Militia.
Militia of 89,000 men occupied the vacated National Guard Armories.
Providing arms for this para-military force was a problem, and many
supplied their own arms, or suitable weapons were borrowed from civilian
the government was able to furnish weapons, uniforms and vehicles for this
Guard Company E, 161st Infantry was among the first to be called to active
served in such remote places as Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Philippines, and
Japan, but left a void in their home community of Pullman, Washington,
which was a small farming community, and the home of Washington State
exempt from military duty by virtue of age, physical infirmity, or
occupation: doctors, farmers, professors, merchants, and male college
students were suitable candidates for the Militia, now called the State
Guard. The official enlistment age was 17, but a few high school students
enlisted as “seventeen minus.
volunteers became Company C, Fifth Washington Volunteer Infantry, even
before the United States officially entered World War II. The company
commander was a banker, the First Lieutenant was the High School music
teacher and band instructor. The Principal of the High School became the
First Sergeant and range master. A selection of non-coms would include a
car dealer, some farmers, auto mechanics, and even some of the High School
they had no uniforms and trained with personal weapons or whatever was
1943, the government had furnished Company C with an assortment of 12 ga.
single-shot shotguns, and some field manuals. Individual members purchased uniforms from J. C. Penny that summer.
As the war progressed, more
equipment was made available: Civilian Conservation Corps winter uniforms,
1917 Enfield rifles, bayonets, a few Thompson submachine guns, one or two
Colt .45 handguns, and a few Mossberg .22 rifles for marksmanship
company eventually boasted two 6x6 military trucks and a jeep.
was available in Quantities sufficient to permit some practice at the
National Guard rifle range.
in the Military Arts were veterans of World War I, and a few ROTC
instructors from the college.
included care and handling of weaponry, marksmanship, close order drill,
principles and practices of guard duty and riot control. Specialized
instruction pertaining to sabotage such as Japanese fire balloons was
included. Gas masks were issued followed by some training in chemical
warfare. On such occasions a military specialist would conduct training
sessions on a particular subject.
addition to routine weekly training sessions, there was high public
visibility when the unit participated in parades, Civil Defense Exercises,
and other patriotic functions.
militia stood guard duty around a B-17 Bomber flown in for a War bond
more somber duty was Honor Guard at services for our military casualties.
the end of WWII, all active militiamen were awarded a service medal
suspended from a yellow ribbon with one green stripe
for each year of service, and
given an invitation to transfer their ratings to the National Guard.
few of the 44 militia units performed any functions directly related to
enemy action, they were present and available for whatever emergencies
arose during the WWII crisis.
had a last line of defense. Armed civilians exercising the rights and
responsibilities of free men living under the U.S. Constitution.
Dedication by the Militia prevailed in an environment of anticipated enemy
invasion. These armed citizens had a commitment to the Nation and to the
Community that is a rarity today.
must protect these rights from people who would “reinterpret”
the United States Constitution. Be aware of the stand your
candidate and his affiliates take on this important issue before you vote.