Alabama Army National Guard
The Alabama Army National Guard maintains 141 armories, and is present in 129 communities.
The Federal mission of Alabama's Army National Guard is to maintain properly trained and equipped units available for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency or as otherwise needed.
The Alabama Army National Guard's State mission is to provide trained and disciplined forces for domestic emergencies or as otherwise required by State laws.
In FY99 the Alabama Army National Guard trained in missions around the world, including New Horizons '99. Soldiers traveled to the Dominican Republic in the aftermath of Hurricanes Mitch and Georges to run engineer operations. ALARNG personnel also worked in Panama clearing ranges as US forces left the country.
Overall in FY99, Alabama had more than 3,450 Army Guard personnel participate in training activities in nine countries - Honduras, Dominican Republic, Panama, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Japan, Thailand and Korea. Several counterpart visits were conducted with Romania under the Partnership for Peace Program. The ALARNG 142nd Signal Brigade added an active Army signal battalion from Fort Lewis, WA to its troop structure. The 1/203rd ADA (Patriot), the National Guard's first "Scud Buster" battalion, trained for its first live fire mission in October 1999.
Fortunately, Alabama had a small number of state emergencies in FY99. Engineer personnel assisted FEMA in damage assessments after an ice storm in north Alabama. In April and September, ALARNG aircraft maintenance personnel fought forest fires in Florida and CH-47 helicopters dumped water on hard to reach fires in the state.
The military forces of the State of Alabama began as a result of the Militia Law of 1807. Under the provisions of this law, every free white male citizen from sixteen to fifty years of age was subject to enrollment. Alabama became a state in 1819 and the Militia Law of 1820 regulated the organization and discipline of the militia. By the mid 1840s, Alabama had both a militia and volunteers. The militia was equipped by the state, the volunteers at their own expense. Alabama units rounded out the regular forces during the Mexican War.
During the War Between the States, most of the Alabama Militia mustered into regiments and served in the Confederate Army. The vast majority of Alabamians served in the Army of Tennessee while others served in the Army of Northern Virginia.
On the morning of July 21, 1861, the Union Army under the command of Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, in an effort to cripple the newly assembled Confederate Army at Manassas, Virginia, fired the opening shots of the first major battle of the Civil War. Both armies were largely made up of volunteer militia with regiments of both sides wearing blue and gray uniforms. The brunt of the Union attack fell on the Confederate left flank. Confederate Brig. Gen. Bernard Bee, having recently resigned from the U. S. Army and still wearing his blue uniform, realized that the army's left flank was seriously exposed.
Gen. Bee ordered the Fourth Alabama to advance rapidly in order to plug the gap in the Confederate line. For over an hour, the Fourth Alabama held it's position and repulsed several Union regiments. The gallant stand of the Fourth Alabama stalled the Union advance and gave the Confederate forces more time to regroup. The regiment played a prominent part in the fighting all day and contributed to the Confederate victory.
The Battle of First Manassas proved to both sides that the Civil War would be a bitterly contested struggle. The Fourth Alabama went on to fight in every major battle in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War and never surrendered its colors.
The heritage and traditions of the Fourth Alabama are carried on by the 1st Battalion, 167th Infantry, Alabama Army National Guard.