VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD STORIES AND EVENTS FROM THE PAST – From the VANG Files
The VANG is very lucky that a number of years ago someone had the foresight to pack away and save all of the paper State Headquarters documents from the 1920s to the early 1960s.
For this update, we learn about the 1936 selection of the new Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the 1939 football games to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of VMI.
First up: FDR’s policy was to change the Chief NGB every four years with no repeats. As a sign of Waller’s political clout, he was contacted by the proponents for COL McNeese (Louisiana NG) including COL McNeese himself:
If you recall, in a previous update we learned about the problem with many of the different state’s Home Guard units developing their own uniforms—some of which merely wore Regular Army uniforms – and this led to much confusion at military facilities as to who was Regular, Reserve or State guard. Many states did not heed the warning and so in March 1942 the Department of the Army issued the below guidance:
Something a little different in this update as we dig into the history of the Virginia Protective Force and the Virginia Reserve Militia (precursors to today’s VDF).
With the nationwide mobilization of the National Guard units in February 1941, the need for a replacement military force was obvious in many states and so they began, as they had done in WWI, to start creating a “Home Guard.” As should be expected, each state came up with a different idea on uniform for its force. Very quickly, the National Guard Bureau sent out a letter chastising the states for, in some cases, using regular Army uniforms. With many State Guard liaison officers in the DC area, it was impossible to tell who was a regular Army officer, a National Guard Officer or a recently created State Guard officer. It therefore quickly became important to develop distinctive Uniforms.
With the end of WWII and the tremendous showing by American Armor units in defeating the Nazis, one would reasonably assume that the postwar army would want to have many tank units in the regular Army and in the Reserve Components. In many cases this was true but for some reason Virginia did not have Armor units for a while.