Arkansas Army National Guard - History


Further information: Arkansas Territorial Militia, Arkansas Militia and the War with Mexico, Arkansas Militia in the Civil War, Arkansas Militia in Reconstruction, and Arkansas State Guard and the Spanish-American War

The Arkansas National Guard traces its roots to the creation of the Territorial Militia in 1804. Interest in the Militia in Arkansas generally waxed and waned throughout the 19th century as various national emergencies arose and passed. Organizations existed at the county and city level, but regimental designations above the company level did not become stable until the closing years of the 19th century. During much of this time local militia companies were supported by private funds. Arkansas provided troops for the War with Mexico, the American Civil War, and the Spanish-American War during the 19th century. In each case, in answer to the governor's call, local militia companies would turn out and be formed into regiments or battalions for induction into federal service. The militia was also heavily engaged in the violence that characterized the Reconstruction period following the Civil War.

Further information: Arkansas National Guard during World War I

Following the Spanish American War, the Federal Government slowly began to provide increasing funding and direction to the state militias with the organization formally changing its name from the Arkansas State Guard to the Arkansas National Guard following the passage of the National Defense act of 1903. Arkansas National Guard troops participated in the Mexican Expedition in 1916–1917 and returned home briefly before being mobilized again for World War I. When the Arkansas National Guard units were mustered into Federal Service for World War I, their state designations were removed and they were renumbered in accordance with a national System. These new Regimental numbers are still represented today in the Arkansas Army National Guard by the 153rd Infantry Regiment, formerly the 1st Arkansas Infantry, and the 142nd Field Artillery Regiment, formerly the 2nd Arkansas Infantry.

Further information: Arkansas National Guard and World War II

The Arkansas National Guard experience a massive expansion between World War I and World War II, with the first permanent armories being built and troops now directed to drill four times per month and to participate in a two week encampment in the summers. Arkansas provided many units for World War II. The 142nd Field Artillery, now redesignated as the 936 and 937th Field Artillery Battalions participated in the European Campaigns, while the 206th Coast Artillery and the 153rd Infantry served in the Aleutian Islands.

In 1947, as a result of the creation of the United States Air Force as a separate branch from the United States Army, the Arkansas National Guard was split into the Arkansas Army National Guard and the Arkansas Air National Guard. Both organizations work for the Adjutant General of Arkansas. The Adjutant General may be either a member of the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard.

Further information: Arkansas Army National Guard and the Korean War, Arkansas Army National Guard and the Cold War, Arkansas National Guard and the Integration of Central High School, and Arkansas Army National Guard in Operation Desert Storm

The 936th and 937th Field Artillery Battalions, along with several other Arkansas Army and Air National Guard units were mobilized again for service in the Korean War. Throughout the Cold War Arkansas National Guard units underwent multiple re-organizations in response to the nation's Cold War strategy. No Arkansas National Guard Troops participated in the Vietnam War, but the state was called upon again to support Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

The years following the first Persian Gulf War saw a dramatic increase in the use of National Guard units for service overseas to support various peace-keeping operations. During the 1980s Arkansas Nation Guard units made multiple training rotations to Honduras during a period of increased Marxist activity. In the 1990s, Arkansas National Guard troops began participating in peace-keeping operations in Bosnia and assisted in the enforcement of a no-fly zone in Iraq by participating in Operation Southern Watch.

Further information: Arkansas Army National Guard and the Global War on Terrorism

Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the National Guard transitioned from the nation's strategic reserve to a part of the operational force. In the immediate crisis following the attacks, National Guard troops were deployed to provide security at airports, nuclear plants, and other critical infrastructure in the state and around the nation, as part of Operation Noble Eagle. Arkansas troops participated in operations to support peace-keeping operations in the Sinai and Kosovo to free up regular Army troops for combat, but the state has also contributed multiple troops for the Global War on Terrorism. Every major unit in the Arkansas National Guard has now deployed at least once in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the state's 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team became the first National Guard brigade to deploy to Iraq for a second time when it deployed in 2008.

Throughout its service to the nation during times of war, the Arkansas National Guard has continued to perform its role of providing service to the citizens of the state during times of disaster. The Guard has responded to numerous tornadoes, floods and fires, in addition to being called upon to provide security and quell violence in times of civil disturbance. The Guard has also provided support to neighboring states, most notably Louisiana during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.

Read more about this topic:  Arkansas Army National Guard

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