|Headquarters, State Area Command|
Kansas Army National Guard
|Active||August 30, 1855 - present|
|Branch||Army National Guard|
|Type||ARNG Headquarters Command|
|Part of||Kansas National Guard|
|Garrison/HQ||Topeka, Kansas, Salina, Kansas|
|Commander||BG Eric Peck|
|Ceremonial chief||COL Barry Taylor|
The Kansas Army National Guard is a component of the Army National Guard and the Kansas National Guard. Kansas Army National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the United States Army. The same ranks and insignia are used and National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The Kansas Guard also bestows a number of state awards for local services rendered in or to the state of Kansas.
The forerunner of the Kansas National Guard, the Kansas Territorial Militia, was formed on August 30, 1855. On Jan. 29, 1861, six years after the formation of the territorial militia, Kansas became the 34th state and the state militia was organized into units of the Kansas National Guard. Article 8, Section 4 of the Kansas Constitution designates the Governor of Kansas as the commander in chief for state duties. The U.S. Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903, which organized the various state militias into the present National Guard system.
The Kansas Army National Guard has been involved in the nation’s conflicts since the state’s inception as a territory. The Kansas Guard actively participated in the Civil War, 1861–1865;6 Indian Wars, 1864–1870; Spanish-American War, 1898–1899; and the Pancho Villa Expedition of 1916; and the First World War, 1917–1919. The 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Kansas Volunteer Militia was organized from existing units in 1880. The regiment was mustered into federal service in June 1916 for duty guarding the Mexican Border against invasion. The regiment served for five months at Eagle Pass, Texas. In August 1917, the 2nd Infantry Regiment was drafted into federal service. The Kansas National Guard supplied troops to the 35th Infantry Division when it was organized in August 1917 as a formation with troops from Kansas and Missouri. The 2nd Infantry Regiment was consolidated with the 1st Infantry Regiment and re-designated the 137th Infantry Regiment, Kansas National Guard and assigned to the 35th Division. The regiment saw duty in France and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The 137th Infantry Regiment were demobilized in May 1919, after 34 months of active duty service. In November 1921, the 2nd Infantry Regiment was re-designated as the 161st Field Artillery Regiment and assigned to the 35th Division.
In 1918, Kansas Army National Guard Lieutenant Erwin R. Bleckley, who volunteered for aviation duty, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during an aerial sortie during the First World War. He was the first National Guard aviator to earn the award and one of only three to earn it during the 20th century.
Since 1918, the Kansas Army National Guard has been involved in the Second World War, 1940–1946; the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, when the 130th Field Artillery Group headquarters, the 195th Field Artillery Battalion, and the 174th Military Police Battalion were mobilized. The 69th Infantry Brigade was then mobilized for training at Fort Carson during the Vietnam War. In a message received from the Department of the Army dated 11 April 1968, the 69th Infantry Brigade was ordered to active duty effective 13 May 1968. The 3rd Battalion, 137th Infantry was not included in the call to active duty for two reasons; to leave a unit available in Kansas in the event of civil disturbances or major natural disaster; and because the battalion was newly reorganized as an infantry unit and had not yet completed Advanced Unit Training. The 69th Brigade arrived at Fort Carson in May 1968, and some personnel began to be levied for Vietnam duty in July, arriving in-theater in October. After return from Fort Carson, on 12 December 1969, demobilization ceremonies were held at various armories throughout Kansas and Iowa. The 69th Brigade officially reverted to state control at 0001 hours, 13 December 1969. 324 officers and 2,073 enlisted men of the Brigade served in Vietnam and 40 died, with hundreds being wounded.
The state maintained the 69th Infantry Brigade as part of the 35th Infantry Division from the 1980s to the 1990s or later.
Kansas Army National Guard personnel also saw service during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 1990–1991; Operations Northern and Southern Watch in Southwest Asia, 1992–2002; Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, 1992–1993; Operations Joint Endeavor, Deny Flight and Joint Guardian in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1995–2003; Operations Phoenix Scorpion, Phoenix Scorpion III and Desert Fox in Southwest Asia, 1997 and 1998; Operation Allied Force in Kosovo, 1999–present; Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle, 2001–present; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003–2011, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa 2010-2011.
The 635th Armor Regiment was constituted in the Air National Guard on 25 March 1953 as the 891st Engineer Aviation Battalion. On 1 August 1953 it was allotted to the Kansas National Guard. It was reorganized and federally recognised 13 January 1954 with headquarters at Manhattan, Kansas. Redesignated in January 1957 as the 891st Engineer Battalion. Converted again to the 635th Armor on 1 February 1976, consisting of the 1st Battalion. In 1984 the battalion was part of the 69th Infantry Brigade. Reorganised again on 1 March 1990 to comprise the 1st and 2nd Battalions at Manhattan and Salina, respectively.
About 350 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 635th Armor, departed on the first leg of a deployment to Kosovo on Oct. 27, 2004 as part of NATO’s peacekeeping operation in the former Yugoslavia. On Friday, Jan, 27, 2006 they returned from their 15-month deployment to Kosovo. While there, they had provided force protection and fixed and roving security, as well as escort duty. Historic units include:
- 108th Aviation Regiment (United States)
- 127th Field Artillery Regiment (United States)
- 130th Field Artillery Regiment
- 161st Field Artillery Regiment
- 235th Field Artillery Regiment
- 130th Field Artillery Brigade Deactivated after returning from Iraq.
- 1st Battalion, 635th Armor, part of the 40th Infantry Division (California) as of 2002. This unit was deactivated in September 2008, and its former troops are now part of the 2nd Battalion, 137th Regiment (Combined Arms Battalion).
The Kansas Army National Guard is authorized 5538 soldiers. Subordinate units within the Kansas Army National Guard include:
- Joint Forces Headquarters-Kansas
- 287th Sustainment Brigade
- HHC 287th
- 287th Special Troops Battalion
- 891st Engineer Battalion
- 169th Corps Support Sustainment Battalion (CSSB)
- 69th Troop Command
- 35th MP Company
- 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Regiment
- 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment
- 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
- 235th Regiment (RTI)
- 635th Regional Support Group
- 69th Infantry Brigade: The 1968 Mobilization, from "THE BATTLE OF FORT CARSON, VIETNAM AND RETURN," the program for 69th Infantry Brigade (Separate). Second Reunion In Commemoration of the Brigade’s Mobilization for Federal Active Duty (13 May 1968 - 12 December 1969), Topeka, Kansas, 28–29 October 1994.
- Jeffery Lynn Pope, Leonia E. Kondratiuk, Armor-Cavalry Regiments, Army National Guard Lineage, DIANE Publishing, 1995, p67.
- Isby and Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company.
- Bibliography of Kansas Army National Guard History compiled by the United States Army Center of Military History
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