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Tennessee Army National Guard

The Volunteer Spirit & Tennessee, an inseparable combination since 1780 when Col. John Sevier called for "100 good men" - and 200 answered - has been a source of pride for generations of Tennesseans. Today, that spirit is still alive & well with over 10,600 Tennesseans serving their Community, State, & Nation.

The Tennessee Army National Guard has a total strength of almost 13,000 assigned to 150 units in 90 different locations statewide. The Army Guard maintains 445 buildings including 109 armories and seven training sites. These facilities encompass 10,150 acres and contain approximately 4,040,741 square feet of floor space. The estimated value of these holdings is in excess of $800 million.

The Military Department of Tennessee has 504 state positions with an additional 2,400 full-time federal employees. The Tennessee Army and Air National Guard stands at almost 17,000 officers and enlisted personnel. With a state and federal payroll in excess of $150 million, the Military Department oversees a total budget, including state and federal funds of over $400 million. The Adjutant General, a constitutional officer of the state appointed by the governor, is responsible for the leadership and command of the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the Bureau of War Records.

Since 1986, the Tennessee Army National Guard has been involved in training missions that span the globe. Participating in such exercises as "Bright Star" in the Middle East and "REFORGER" in Germany, Tennesseans have improved the skills that are absolutely necessary to be a part of this nation's first line of defense. England, Italy, Panama, Japan, Ecuador, Korea, Wales, Scotland, Norway and Denmark are a few of the locations, worldwide, Tennessee Army Guard men and women have trained in past years.

The other, yet equally important, role of the National Guard is to be a state military force under the direction of the Governor. The Tennessee Constitution directs the governor to assume the role of "Commander-in-Chief' of the state The Guard may be called upon to maintain order in emergency situations, to rescue civilians whose lives arc in danger, or to assist during natural disasters. For example, in July of 1977 a total of 149 Guard personnel were activated to assist local authorities in Rockwood after a chemical spill left a cloud of hazardous gas hanging over the East Tennessee city. The Guard has been summoned to assist local residents when floods have ravaged portions of Tennessee. When fireman strikes occurred in 1978 in Memphis and in 1980 in Nashville, the Guard deployed hundreds of soldiers to the two cities to assist local officials and residents.

During March of 1993, most of middle and all of east Tennessee were blasted by a severe winter storm that dumped record amounts of snow in some portions of this state. Thousands of people were without power in their homes and hundreds were stranded in snow drifts of ten feet or more on the interstate highways. This late winter blizzard brought more than 2,400 Tennessee National Guard soldiers to duty in the most extensive disaster relief operation since 1937.

The Tennessee Military Department is a Cabinet-level division within the Executive Branch of Tennessee State Government. It is divided into four major organizations: The Tennessee Army National Guard, The Tennessee Air National Guard, The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), and The Tennessee State Guard.

The Tennessee National Guard underwent a major reorganization in early 1995, which saw more than half of its units being restructured and almost 75% of its personnel being trained in new Military Occupational Specialties (MOS's). By the end of 1998, the Tennessee Guard was the 6th largest National Guard in the United States. National defense is one of the dual missions of the National Guard.

The official military history of the state of Tennessee dates to June 1, 1796 when President George Washington signed the act of Congress admitting Tennessee as the 16th state.

An act of the 45th General Assembly in 1887 created the military organization known as the Tennessee National Guard. The act of 1887, which set up the basic conditions under which the military arm of Tennessee has operated, followed more than a century of deeds that set the standards the Tennessee National Guard looks to with pride.

In 1774, militias were formed in the areas of Sullivan and Carter counties, to face a threat from the Shawnee Indians. The militia and Indians fought a decisive battle Point Pleasant (Kenawa). John Sevier and Issac Shelby in 1780 led mounted Tennessee riflemen to another decisive battle, Kings Mountain. With the fledgling United States in the throes of a revolutionary war, Sevier and Tennessee Militiamen fought Hessian mercenaries and British regulars and won the battle considered the turning point of the war in the southern states.

As Tennesseans pushed west and south toward the Tennessee River, however, they began to press upon Creek territory and hostilities resumed The Creeks were the most formidable tribe on the Tennessee borders, and they were widely believed to be under the influence of belligerent British and Spanish agents. In 1812, moreover ominous rumors reached the frontier of a warlike confederacy of the Ohio Valley tribes led by Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet. Tecumseh had visited the Creek Nation the year before to urge the southern tribesmen to join his warrior crusade to roll back white settlement. His prophecy that the earth would tremble as a sign of the impending struggle was seemingly confirmed by a series of massive earthquakes which convulsed western Tennessee and created Reelfoot Lake.

Anti-British sentiment ran high in Tennessee, and Tennesseans were easily disposed to link the Indian threat with British outrages on the high seas. Led by Felix Grundy of Nashville the state's representatives were prominent among those 'War Hawks" in Congress who clamored for war with Great Britain. When war was declared in June 1812 (with the unanimous assent of Tennessee's delegation), Tennesseans saw an opportunity to rid their borders once and for all of Indians. Their chance came soon enough. News reached Nashville in August 1813 of the massacre of some 250 men, women and children at Fort Mims, Alabama.

Tecumseh's message had taken hold, and the Creek Nation was split by civil war. The Fort Mims attack was carried out by the war faction, called Red Sticks, under their chief, William Weatherford.

Governor Willie Blount immediately called out 2,500 volunteers and placed them under the command of Andrew Jackson. Jackson's l813 -1814 campaign against Weatherford's warriors, known as the Creek War, really constituted the Southern phase of the War of 1812. Despite a chronic shortage of supplies, lack of support from the War Department, and mutiny Jackson's militia army prevailed in a series of lopsided victories over the Red Sticks. His victory at the Battle of Tohopeka (Horseshoe Bend) utterly destroyed Creek military power and propelled not only Jackson, but also his lieutenants William Carroll and Sam Houston, to national prominence.

On the heels of his success against the Indians, Andrew Jackson was appointed major general in the U. S. Army and given command of the Southern military district just in time to meet an impending British invasion of the Gulf Coast. Having secured Mobile and driven the British out of Pensacola, Jackson hurriedly marched his troops to New Orleans to rendezvous with other Tennessee units converging for a defense of the city. On January 8 1815, Jackson's ragtag troops inflicted a crushing defeat on a veteran British army under Sir Edward Pakenham, who was killed along with hundreds of his soldiers. The Americans lost 23 dead. Despite having occurred fifteen days after the signing of the peace treaty with Great Britain, the Battle of New Orleans was a brilliant victory (one of the few unequivocal American successes of the war), and it launched Andrew Jackson on the road to the presidency. Three years later he led yet another force composed largely of Tennesseans into Florida in an action supposedly directed against the Seminoles, but one that convinced Spain to cede Florida to the United States.

When a Tennessean, President James K. Polk, issued an immediate call for 50,000 volunteers, nationwide, to fight in the war with Mexico, Tennessee met its quota of 2,600 with 26,000 volunteers.

Tennesseans were involved on both sides of the American Civil War as brother fought brother, and father fought son. A unique and tragic period in the history of the Tennessee Military, space here does not allow us to elaborate on the profound effect this conflict had on the Volunteer State. More information can be found in our Tennesseans During the Civil War page.

During World War I, the 30th (Old Hickory) Division from Tennessee helped smash the Hindenburg Line, the strongest defensive system devised to that date. In World War II, the German High Command regarded the 30th Division as "Roosevelt's Shock Troops."

Some 3,600 men and women of the Tennessee National Guard, both Army and Air, were called to active duty during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. The 130th Rear Area Operations Center from Smyrna and the 176th Maintenance Battalion Headquarters from Johnson City were among the first Tennessee units called to active duty. Other Army National Guard units called to support Operation Desert Storm were 776th Maintenance Company, Elizabethton; 1175th Quartermaster Company, Carthage; 251st Supply and Service Company, Lewisburg; 212th Engineer Company, Tracy City; 1174th Transportation Company, Dresden; 663rd Medical Detachment, Smyrna; 268th Military Police Company, Ripley; 300th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, Smryna; 775th Engineer Company, Camden; 155th Engineer Company, Waverly; Headquarters 196th Field Artillery Brigade, Chattanooga; 1/181st Field Artillery Battalion, Chattanooga; 269th Military Police Company, Dyersburg; 118th Public Affairs Detachment, Nashville; 568th Personnel Service Company, Smyrna; and 213th Health Services Liaison Detachment, Smyrna.

Over 11,000 Tennessee citizens are members of the Tennessee Army National Guard. They serve as full partners with active duty Americans worldwide to make up the Total Force of American defense. Nationwide, the Army National Guard contributes more than half of the Army's total combat strength for about nine percent of the total budget.

The State Area Command (STARC) units stretch from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Mississippi River in the west. The 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment from Nashville deployed in February to support Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. The mission was an outstanding example of cooperation in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace Program. The 194th Engineer Brigade commanded a joint task force during CORNERSTONE '98 to rebuild a remote hospital in Tran, Bulgaria. The task force consisted of Tennessee Army and Air Guard units, Naval Reserve Seabees and active component personnel. The mission was an outstanding example of cooperation in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace Program.



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