Arizona Army National Guard - History

History

In response to the Indian wars, the Arizona Army National Guard was formed on September 2, 1865. In 1898, hundreds of Arizonans joined the ranks of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. The Militia Act of 1903 organized the various state militias into the present National Guard system.

Since then, the Arizona Army National Guard has been deployed to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Units from Arizona also deployed to Louisiana to assist with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.

The 158th Infantry Regiment was created September 2, 1865, as the First Arizona Volunteer Infantry. Subsequent to Pancho Villa’s murder of American civilians and soldiers in Columbus, New Mexico in 1916, the 1st Arizona Infantry was activated and headquartered at Camp Naco, Arizona and assigned border protection duties.

The regiment was drafted into Federal Service for World War I, 5 August 1917 as part of the 40th Division. Reorganization after the 1st World War assigned the 158th Infantry to the 45th Infantry Division. On 16 September 1940, the declaration of the National Emergency, the 158th Infantry joined its parent organization, the 45th Division at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After being relieved by divisions in campaign after campaign across the Pacific, the 158th Infantry was selected to spearhead the final invasion of Japan.

Units from Arizona were called into action on September 26, 1940. The 158th Regimental Combat Team were given the name the "Bushmasters," named after the deadly Bushmaster snake in Panama. General Douglas MacArthur said that, "No greater fighting combat team has ever deployed for battle".

The 158th Infantry was demobilized and returned to state service following the end of World War II. It was redesignated in June 1967 as the 258th Infantry Brigade. It was subsequently reorganized and redesignated in August 1968 as the 258th Military Police Brigade. In August 1976 the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 258th Support Center, later the 258th Rear Area Operations Center. The Cannon Company, 158th Infantry was reorganized as the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade (including units of the 180th Field Artillery Regiment (United States)). The 153 FA Bde was reorganized and redesignted as the 98th Troop command in 2006. In September 2010 the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 158th Maneuver Enhanced Brigade. The 1st Battalion 180th Field Artillery was reorganized and redesignted in 2006 as the 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry and assigned as an element of the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The Arizona National Guard has served the State through the Arizona Project ChalleNGe program. Since 1993 AZ Project ChalleNGe has offered an in-residence, voluntary, academy-style educational program for high school dropouts who wish to return to their educational goals.

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