Illinois Army National Guard
The Illinois Army National Guard maintains 59 armories, and is present in 50 communities. The Illinois National guard is a 13,000 member, joint Army and Air Force organization led by the Adjutant General, a Major General appointed by the Governor. As the Department of Military Affairs, it is a part of the Illinois state government, and the soldiers and airmen of the Illinois guard respond to both state and federal missions.
The Illinois Army National Guard supported many overseas missions during FY99. Three ILARNG units deployed to Central America in support of Operation New Horizon. Company C, 634th Forward Support Battalion provided medical support to several village locations in Nicaragua and remote locations in Ecuador. Company C, 205th Area Support Medical Battalion supported New Horizons by providing 32 medical personnel to the hurricane ravaged country of Honduras. Company A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group also deployed over 80 soldiers to Honduras to assist with medical support.
In addition to the various medical support missions, the 232nd Corp Support Battalion deployed soldiers to the Republic of Korea in support of three separate exercises. ILARNG troops also deployed to Japan, Wales and Iceland. the Illinois ARNG sent 35 soldiers to participate in Peaceshield '99, a NATO joint exercise conducted in the Ukraine that involved many Balkan and NATO forces. The 233rd Military Police Company was the last Army National Guard unit to deploy to Fort Clayton, Panama in support of former President Carter's 1977 Panama Canal Peace Agreement.
More than 600 soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard deployed in Iceland to take part in the 2001 Northern Viking exercise. The contingent was led by the 66th Infantry Brigade and included Illinois Army National Guard infantry, aviation, engineer and logistical units.
The Illinois National Guard received notification November 30, 2001 that a large part of the 66th Infantry Brigade would be called to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, with possibly as many as 1,500 to 1,700 soldiers to be mobilized for this mission. Soldiers in the brigade were begin Soldier Readiness Processing in early December 2001 and then report to their mobilization site in January for pre-mobilization processing and training prior to deployment to USAREUR. The initial mobilization was to last up 240 days.
From its inception as first a French and then a British colony, Illinois maintained a colonial militia that saw extensive service on the from their against the Indians through the Revolutionary War period. Pierre Duque Boisbriant organized a provincial militia in the Illinois District of the Providence of Louisiana in 1712. The first units were from Cokokia and Kaskaskia. George Rogers Clark with 200 Illinois militiamen from Kasakia captured Fort Sackville, IN from British Colonel Henry Hamilton and his Regulars in 1779. Regiments of Illinois militia captured Prairie Du Chien. Illinois became the 21st state in 1818.
After statehood in 1818, the militia continued throughout the 19th century. Illinois units fought in the Winnebago Wars. Capt. Abraham Lincoln commanded a company of mounted volunteers in the Black Hawk War. Six regiments and five independent companies volunteered for the Mexican War.
During the Civil War, Illinois made one of the largest contributions of personnel to the Union forces. Illinois raised 174 combat regiments on behalf of the Union side. nearly 36,000 names are inscribed at the Illinois Memorial at vicksburg battlefield. More than 250,000 men from Illinois volunteered to serve for the Union in the Civil War. Statesman John A. Logan left Congress to lead Illinois troops and rises to the rank of Major General. Colonel Ulysses S. Grant re-entered the Army, commanding the 21st Illinois Volunteers.
Units formed in the Chicago area in the aftermath of the Chicago fire to keep order. Illinois mustered ten regiments and the Naval Militia for service in the Spanish American War. Illinois National Guard was called for service on the Mexican Border in 1916. 25,000 troops are mobilized for WWI; 33d Division won 9 Medals of Honor; aviation units formed and serve in France.
The Illinois Guard was called into service for World War II. Units called include the 33rd Infantry Division; Co B, 192d Tank Bn (captured at Bataan); 106th Cavalry; 108th Observation Squadron; the 184th Field Artillery Regiment; and the 132d Infantry Regiment. Illinois units served in all theatres of war. The 132d Infantry Regiments earns Navy Presidential Units Citation. The 33d Infantry Division helped recapture Philippines.
The Korean War, Vietnam, and Desert Storm demonstrated a continuing need to maintain the tradition of the citizen-soldier. Illinois Guard units served admirably in all those conflicts and at the same time reinforced the mission of support to the State of Illinois. The 44th Infantry Division was called to active duty, and the 32d Ordnance Battalion served in Korea. Several Army units were called to active duty for Berlin Crisis. Guard played a key role in maintaining peace during civil disturbances. 126th Supply & Service Company served in Vietnam.
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