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Army National Guard History
The D.C. National Guard
D.C. Guard Organization
The National Guard is the oldest military branch.
The National Guards roots date back to 1636, when colonial militias made up of ordinary citizens would put down their plows and pick up weapons to protect families and towns from hostile attacks. Today, Citizen-Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.
Our unique dual mission: serving both community and country.
The National Guard serves both state and federal governments. While the Guard originally focused on protecting local communities, it eventually grew into a force that complements the Active Duty Army when help is needed anywhere in the world. The biggest difference compared to other branches is that while Guard units are combat-trained and can be deployed overseas, they are just as likely to serve in their home communities.
During local emergencies, Guard units assist residents endangered by storms, floods, fires and other disasters. Guard units deployed overseas may experience combat. Others may use expertise gained in civilian careers to build schools and hospitals, train local peace keepers, or teach local farmers how to use land more efficiently.
Typically, Guard Soldiers live at home, where they can be near friends and family while holding a civilian job. Drill is scheduled just one weekend each month. Two-week annual training takes place once each year. Drill and annual training provide Soldiers the opportunity to practice their skills, which helps keep units trained and ready for action at all times.
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The Guard does whatever is needed, wherever it is needed.
As a Guard Soldier, your primary area of operation is your home state. Any governor or the president himself can call on the Guard at a moment’s notice. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counter-drug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency helping to defend American freedom and ideals. This is what makes the National Guard a unique and essential element of the U.S. military.
The D.C. National Guard
Joint Force Headquarters - District of Columbia (JFHQ-DC) maintains and provides trained and ready DC National Guard (DCNG) units, personnel, and equipment to achieve the federal war-fighting mission, to support the District of Columbia Emergency Response Plan, and to add value to the community through local programs. JFHQ-DC facilitates the integration of federal and state activities to provide expertise and situational awareness to the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense.
Federal Mission: Support the readiness of DC National Guard (DCNG) units to perform federally assigned missions, both at home and abroad. District of Columbia personnel provide direct support to key functional areas including operations, training, and readiness, to ensure DCNG units can defend the nation and the capital.
District Mission: Emergency Preparedness/Emergency Response: Prepare for and respond to requests for National Guard support from the Mayor, lead federal agencies within the National Capital Region, and Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region (JFHQ - NCR).
Community Mission: Maximize the use of available Department of Defense family and youth programs to support the citizens of the District of Columbia.
The military history of the United States, to a greater extent than most Americans remember, is a history of the National Guard. The Guard is our oldest military force, and, from the earliest colonial days until modern time, has comprised a major portion of our armed forces in both peace and war.
The history of the District of Columbia National Guard begins in January 1776, with the formation of militia elements in the portions of the State of Maryland which later became the District of Columbia. These units, which saw military service during, and after, the Revolutionary War, were later constituted as the first elements of the District of Columbia Militia.
In 1802, the Congress enacted legislation officially establishing the District of Columbia Militia. President Thomas Jefferson directed the formation of the First Columbian Brigade and selected John Mason as the first Brigadier General Commanding. The militia organization was unusual for its time since it was organized into Legions with balanced proportions of infantry, artillery and cavalry, rather than the more customary Regiments. One Legion was assigned to what is now the District of,Columbia, the second was headquartered on the Virginia side of the Potomac.
The DC Militia made its first appearance on a battlefield during the War of 1812. Its most memorable engagement was at the Battle of Bladensburg where, with a combined force of regulars and Maryland Militia, it vainly attempted to prevent a British attack on the City of Washington. DC militiamen fought gallantly that day but were eventually ordered to withdraw. They reformed along the East front of the Capitol for a final defense, but before they could engage the attackers were ordered again to withdraw, this time to an area North of Georgetown then known as Tenlytown. In September 1814, Lieutenant Francis Scott Key, a member of the Georgetown Field Artillery of the DC Militia, was, under a flag of truce, permitted aboard a British man-of-war 'in Baltimore Harbor. While watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Lieutenant Key was inspired to write the poem which later became our National Anthem.
D.C. militiamen participated in the Creek Indian Wars and the Second Seminole Campaign during the early 1830's, but saw no combat. In the 1860's, D.C. militiamen were the first to be called by President Lincoln to defend the Union. Some units refused to serve and resigned to join the Confederacy, but the majority served loyally during the war. D.C. Militia units spearheaded the first excursion across what is now the 14th street bridge to establish a Union presence in Confederate Virginia. In May 1861, Private Manuel Causten, a member of Captain Owens' President's Mounted Guard of the D.C. Militia, earned a dubious honor by becoming the first Union soldier to be captured the war. Black D.C. Militia units formed during the Civil War served with distinction.
In the early years, the D.C. Militia was recognized as the "President's Own", and fired salutes, paraded on festive occasions, and performed ceremonial functions for visiting heads of state. With the creation of the "National Guard" in the mid 1880's, the organization took on a distinctive military character. The Law of 1802 was superseded by the Law of 1889, which made several dramatic changes. The new Law, which included authorization for a Naval Battalion, remains in effect today with only minor changes.
Late in the 19th Century, D.C. militiamen again answered the call to the colors, forming volunteer companies and regiments for service in the Spanish-American War. Units from D.C. fought and served in several campaigns.
In 1903, the Congress enacted legislation giving the National Guard legal status as the primary reserve for the US armed forces. This legislation did not dramatically alter the D.C. National Guard, but helped transform it from a local, community oriented organization into a cohesive military force which could, with minimum confusion, be absorbed into a larger wartime Army.
D.C. units saw service on the Mexican Border in 1916. More than 2,300 members served in France during World War 1, most with the acclaimed 29th "Blue and Gray" Infantry Division. D.C.'s all black 1st Separate Infantry became part of the 372d Infantry Regiment which was brigaded with the French 157th Infantry Division and saw extensive combat.
More than 2,300 D.C. Guardsmen entered active service in 1940. World War II, service would earn them battle credits in every theater, Europe, North Africa, the and the Caribbean. D.C.'s 121st Engineers (now the 163d Military Police landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and blasted through obstacles for their parent 29th Division. Other DC engineers, redesignated at part of Ohio's 37th Division, built roads and cleared obstacles on New Georgia, Bouganville and Luzon. Members of the 260th Anti Aircraft Artillery first provided defenses for West coast ports, then were scattered to many battlefields through reorganization and reassignment. One battery reached Dutch Harbor in time to help repel a Japanese air attack. The fire from the deck of their transport was so intense that enemy pilot reported an American passenger liner was a "new kind" of heavily armed warship.
Mobilizations and active service continued after World War II Several units were mobilized during the Korean conflict and one, the all black 715th Truck Company, served in combat on the Korean peninsula. Several. units including the DC Air Guard's 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, were called to active duty during the Berlin Crisis in the early 1960's. The Wing was called again, in 1968, in response to the capture of the USS Pueblo. The main body was sent to Myrtle Beach, SC, and later provided replacements for service in Vietnam. Other members served at 51 locations in the US and overseas.
Both in the District of Columbia and across the Nation, today's National Guard stands ready as a modern, capable, dual purpose military force. The National Guard is trained and equipped for rapid mobilization and quick deployment as part of the US armed forces. It is also trained to protect lives and property and to preserve order in support of civil authorities in times of domestic unrest or natural disaster.
The D.C. Army and Air National Guard remains deeply committed to both missions. It maintains selected, units at peak readiness, available for short notice mobilization in case of national emergency. Concurrently, it carries out intensive training and planning for local service in support of civil authorities. At times, the D.C. National Guard has been ordered for duty for as many 24 separate events ranging, from the quadrennial Presidential Inauguration to support of the Metropolitan Police during mass rallies and demonstrations.
District of Columbia Army National Guard Element Joint Force
District of Columbia Army National Guard Area Mobilization
260th Regiment District of Columbia Army National Guard,
Regional Training Institute
District of Columbia Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention
District of Columbia Medical Detachment
33rd Civil Support Team
121st Military Police Detachment
121st Medical Company
257th Army Band
Detachment 4 Army National Guard Operational Support,Airlift
National Guard Bureau Legal Support Office
74th Troop Command
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 372nd Military Police
273rd Military Police Company
275th Military-Police Company
276th Military Police Company
104th Maintenance Company
547th Transportation Company
D.C. Armory • 2001 East Capitol St SE
Washington D.C. 20003