Military Wiki
Headquarters, State Area Command
California Army National Guard
US Army National Guard Insignia.svg
California STARC Shoulder Sleeve insignia
Country United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type ARNG Headquarters Command
Part of California National Guard
Garrison/HQ Sacramento, California
Major General Lawrence A. Haskins

The California Army National Guard is the land force component of the California National Guard, one of the reserve component United States Army and is part of the National Guard of the United States. The California Army National Guard is composed of about 20,000 soldiers. Nationwide, the Army National Guard comprises approximately one half of the US Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organization. National coordination of various state National Guard units are maintained through the National Guard Bureau.

California Army National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the United States Army. The same enlisted and officer ranks and insignia are used and National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The California Army National Guard also bestows a number of state awards for local services rendered in or to the state of California.



Unlike any other service the National Guard serves a dual role purpose. The first and foremost role is to the state in times of natural disasters, civic disturbances and more. The second role is to federal missions of overseas deployments, and covering down for active duty personal on military installations during active duty deployments. National Guard units can be mobilized at any time with permission from the states Governor by the presidential order to supplement regular armed forces, and upon declaration of a state of emergency by the governor of the state in which they serve. Unlike Army Reserve members, National Guard members cannot be mobilized individually (except through voluntary transfers and Temporary Duty Assignments (TDY), but only as part of their respective units. However, there has been a significant amount of individual activations to support military operations (2001-?); the legality of this policy is a major issue within the National Guard.

Active duty callups

For much of the final decades of the twentieth century, National Guard personnel typically served "One weekend a month, two weeks a year", with a portion working for the Guard in a full-time capacity. The current forces formation plans of the US Army call for the typical National Guard unit (or National Guardsman) to serve one year of active duty for every three years of service. More specifically, current Department of Defense policy is that no Guardsman will be involuntarily activated for a total of more than 24 months (cumulative) in one six year enlistment period (this policy is due to change 1 August 2007, the new policy states that soldiers will be given 24 months between deployments of no more than 24 months, individual states have differing policies).


Formation of the California State Militia and its early years

The California Army National Guard was formed with the passing of the Militia Act of 1903, also known as the Dick Act. Prior to that time, the California Army Guard originated from the state militia established by the Constitution of California in 1849. On April 4, 1850, the first California Legislature in San Jose adopted enabling legislation formally establishing a militia of volunteer or independent companies. The law required every free, white, able-bodied male citizen of the State to perform military duty or to pay a $2 fee for nonperformance of this duty. Such payment exempted the person from duty except in case of war, insurrection, invasion, assistance to the sheriff, or a requisition of the militia. It provided that a judge of the superior court of a county should cause a suitable person to open a book, and enter the names of persons who apply and are able to perform military duty. After required notice, the volunteers were to be organized, and their officers and noncommissioned officers selected by election. The volunteer or independent companies were to be armed and equipped as in the Army of the United States. The units were to adopt a constitution and by-laws as well as rules and regulations for the government of its personnel and determination of fines and penalties to enforce them.[2]

The Legislature then provided for the organization of these enrolled state militia, volunteers or independent companies into four divisions, each commanded by a major general and consisting of two brigades, with a state-wide Adjutant General responsible to the Governor of California.[3] From 1852, the Quartermaster General of California was subsumed under the office of Adjutant General of California, when William H. Richardson resigned and Quartermaster General William Chauncey Kibbe became Adjutant General by a law of 1852.

The first unit, known as the First California Guard (officially Company A, First Regiment, Light Artillery), was formed from volunteers in San Francisco, California under Captain Henry Morris Naglee on July 27, 1849, as a territorial militia. It then was the first orgainized under state authority.[4] Under these regulations, 307 volunteer or independent companies were organized in the early years of the states history to oppose the Indians, hunt down bandits, quell riots or Vigilantes, protect officials, intervene in mining claim disputes and other civil disturbances.

During 1850, Governor Burnett called out the militia two times. The first was prompted by incidents involving the Yuma Indians at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers on April 23, 1850; in response, the Governor ordered the sheriffs of San Diego County and Los Angeles County to organize a total of 100 men for the Gila Expedition to “pursue such energetic measures to punish the Indians, bring them to terms, and protect the emigrants on their way to California.”[5] The second instance occurred in October 1850, when Governor Burnett ordered the sheriff of El Dorado County to muster 200 men. The commanders were instructed to “proceed to punish the Indians engaged in the late attacks in the vicinity of Ringgold, and along the emigrant trail leading from Salt Lake to California.”[6]

From 1850 to 1851 the Mariposa Battalion was raised to fight the Mariposa War in the Sierras. In 1851, the Garra Revolt occurred in San Diego County and the Governor called for troops, the Fitzgerald Volunteers were raised in San Diego to defend the County and conducted an expedition to Warners Ranch. Also two companies of Rangers were organized in San Francisco from members of the three militia companies that existed in that city then: First California Guard, Washington Guard and Empire Guard.[7] However, by the time transportation to San Diego was arranged the revolt had been suppressed, and the now idle volunteers caused more trouble in San Diego than the Indians.[8]

In 1853, a company of California State Rangers was organized for the purpose of capturing the famous bandit Joaquin Murietta. At the same time Los Angeles County formed two companies, Los Angeles Rangers[9] and the Los Angeles Guard.[10] In 1854 the Monte Rangers[11] were formed. During 1855 in San Bernardino County the San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry[12] was formed, replaced in 1856 by the San Bernardino Rangers.[13] These units were raised to support the local authorities in combating Indian raids and the influx of criminals into Southern California, driven out of the northern part of the state by vigilantism in San Francisco and the Gold Country.[14]

In 1854, the six companies in San Francisco, were formed into a battalion. In 1855, the militia was again reorganized. Provision was made for six divisions and 12 brigades. More extended military rolls were to be kept by the county assessors of each county.[2]

In 1855, six California militia units were raised or mobilized in Humboldt and Klamath Counties for defense of the inhabitants in the Klamath and Salmon River War.[15]

In 1856, Tulare Mounted Riflemen, a California State Militia unit of Tulare County, fought the Yokut in the Tule River War.[16][17] In 1858-59, Captain Isaac G. Messec and his company, the Trinity Rangers fought the Klamath and Humboldt Campaign against the Whilkut or Redwood Indians.[18]

In 1859, the Kibbe Rangers under William Byrnes and local Posse comitatuss fought the Pitt River Expedition against the Achomawi (Pit River) and Atsugewi (Hat Creek) tribes.

In 1860 the Independent City Guard and another company of volunteers from Sacramento, and the Nevada Rifles from Nevada City joined the Washoe Regiment and fought in the Carson River Expedition in the Paiute War.[19]

Civil War

As the secession crisis developed in early 1861, several Volunteer Companies of the California Militia[20][21] had disbanded because of divided loyalties and new ones with loyal Union men were sworn in across the state under the supervision of County sheriffs and judges. Many of these units saw no action but some were to form the companies of the earliest California Volunteer Regiments. Others like the Petaluma Guard and Emmet Rifles in Sonoma County suppressed a secessionist disturbance in Healdsburg,[22] in 1862. Union commanders relied on the San Bernardino Mounted Rifles[23] to hold the pro southern San Bernardino County for the Union in late 1861 as Federal troops were being withdrawn and replaced by California Volunteers.

Notable as the only active pro-Southern militia unit, the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles was organized on March 7, 1861, in Los Angeles County. It included more than a few Californios in its leadership and its ranks including the County Sheriff, one of his Undersheriffs and several of his deputies. A. J. King another Undersheriff of Los Angeles County (and former member of the earlier "Monte Rangers") and other influetial men in El Monte, formed another secessionist militia the Monte Mounted Rifles on March 23, 1861. However the attempt failed when A. J. King marched through the streets following news of the Battle of Fort Sumter with a portrait of the Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard and was arrested by a U.S. Marshal. State arms sent from Governor John G. Downey for the unit were held up by Union officers at the port of San Pedro. Due to the activities of secessionists within companies and disappearance of arms with the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, the Legislature passed a law giving the Governor the power to recover from any company its arms and equipment to prevent traitors from getting possession of state arms.[24]

In 1862, the crisis of the American Civil War compelled the militia to be reorganized. Volunteer companies were to be reorganized, classified, assigned to militia battalions and regiments and staffs were to be provided to them. Administration was improved, bonds required, military duty exacted, enrollments and assessments created, muster rolls defined, activation of the militia determined, disciplinary procedure adopted, courts-martial provided, compensation fixed, arms and equipment provided, and prior conflicting acts repealed.[2]

During the Civil War 88 militia companies had been formed to serve, if required, in their respective localities, or to respond to a call from the governor.[25] However by the end of the Civil War only two of the six Divisions were active and only six of the twelve Brigades of which only the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Brigades were organized into battalions and regiments.

Later 19th Century

In 1866, the Legislature for the first time employed the term "National Guard" as the title of the organized uniformed troops of the State of California. The statute provided for the organization of the National Guard, General and Special Staffs, formations of companies, service, arms and equipment, created a Board of Organization, formed a Board of Military Auditors, adopted a system of instruction and drill, described in detail the duties of the Adjutant General, created privileges and exemptions, allowances and expenses, limited the issuance of arms to troops only, provided for military musters and active service.

20th and 21st Century

Secretary of Defense William Cohen talks with soldiers from a California Army National Guard

The Militia Act of 1903 organized the various state militias into the present National Guard system. Between the wars the 79th Infantry Brigade existed in the state, with the 159th and 184th Infantry Regiments. Soon after World War II the 49th Infantry Division was organized in the state, but it disappeared after later reorganization.

On February 1, 1976, the 49th Infantry Brigade, California Army National Guard, was redesignated the 49th MP Brigade at Alemeda, California.

Units and members of the California Army National Guard have served in: World War I, World War II, Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Sinai Peninsula, Qatar, Germany, Spain, Panama, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, during the L.A. Riots, on the US/Mexico Border mission, during Hurricane Katrina humanitarian efforts, in airports and seaports around California, in various military bases across the US in support of Homeland Security, and more.

Historic units

See also


  1. "HHC 40th Aviation Brigade". California National Guard. State of California. 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Outline History of the California National Guard, extracted from the 1950 edition of the California Blue Book". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  3. "Creation of the National Guard of California". California State Military Museum. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  4. "First California Guard". California State Military Museum. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  5. [Peter H. Burnett, “Governor’s Annual Message to the Legislature, January 7, 1851,” in Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the State of California, at the Second Session of the Legislature, 1851-1852, (San Francisco: G.K. Fitch & Co., and V.E. Geiger & Co., State Printers, 1852), pp. 16-17.]
  6. [Burnett, “Governor’s Annual Message...,1851“, p. 18.]
  7. Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft Vol. XXIV: History of California Vol VII, History Co., San Francisco, 1890, p.455. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  8. "Richard F. Pourade, '''The Silver Dons 1833–1865''', Copley Press, 1963, CHAPTER TEN: THE GARRA UPRISING". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  9. "California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories; Los Angeles Rangers". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  10. "California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories; Los Angeles Guard". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  11. "California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories; Monte Rangers". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  12. "California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories; San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry". 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  13. "California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories; San Bernardino Rangers". 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  14. Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of HERBERT HOWE BANCROFT, Vol. XXXVI, Popular tribunals, Volume I, The History Company, SAN FRANCISCO, 1887, p. 437-438 "Following the great uprisings in San Francisco, there was a general exodus of crimmals to the interior. A San Francisco paper thus sounds the note of warning:
    "The recent hanging and banishing of the friends and companions of these villains in San Francisco caused a stampede for the interior and southern portion of the state, where they formed themselves into organized banditti, robbing and murdering indiscriminately. Neither sex nor age were regarded by these desperate gangs of marauders. ... the law was found to be inefficient to punish the bloody outrages which were daily being committed; the people in the lower counties, in Los Angeles, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and later still in Carson Valley, have been obliged in self-defence to follow the example of San Francisco ..."
  15. Anthony Jennings Bledsoe, '''Indian wars of the Northwest: A California sketch''', Bacon & Company, San Francisco, 1885; Chapter VI The Klamath War. pp.153-176. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  16. "California and the Indian Wars, The Tule River War by William Gorenfield. The California State Military Museum website. Article originally appeared in the June 1999 issue of Wild West". 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  17. "Eugene L. Menefee and Fred A. Dodge, History of Tulare and Kings Counties, California, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California, 1913. Chapter II The Indian War of 1856 pp.20-27". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  18. "California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories: Trinity Rangers from The California State Military Museum, accesssed September 8, 2011". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  19. "California and the Indian Wars, The Paiute War". The California State Military Museum. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  20. "Index to Militia Units of the State of California 1850-1881". 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  21. "Inventory of the Military Department. Militia Companies Records, 1849-1880" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  22. "The California State Military Museum, California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories, Petaluma Guard". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  23. "California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories, San Bernardino Rangers. This history was written in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the Office of the Adjutant General and the California State Library". 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  24. George Henry Tinkham, California men and events: time 1769-1890, CHAPTER XVI note (s). Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  25. "By Colonel Norman S. Marshall and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark J. Denger, The Creation of the National Guard of California, California Center for Military History". 1916-06-03. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  26. "250th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (First California)". California State Military Museum. California Military Department. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  27. "140th Aviation Regiment". California State Military Museum. California Military Department. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  28. "134th Tank Battalion". California State Military Museum. California Military Department. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  29. "170th Cavalry Regiment". California State Military Museum. California Military Department. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  30. "115th Quartermaster Battalion". California State Military Museum. California Military Department. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  31. "Headquarters and Headquarters Company 115th Support Group". United States Army Center of Military History. United States Army. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. "Reorganized and Federally recognized 12 May 1936 in the California National Guard at Sacramento as Company A, 115th Quartermaster Regiment, an element of the 40th Division" 

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