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Photo of the Month

Arkansas State Guard in WWII

Hardly a single person that lived through the World War II years was unaffected by the experience. Mobilization of forces to meet the Axis threat impacted many individuals. Over 16 million Americans served in the military. But for many other citizens the war was fought on the home front as well. Industry focused manufacturing on war needs and communities came together to support the effort through volunteer work, bond drives, scrap drives, blood drives, and rationing of food and goods.

Many men deferred from active service in the military due to age or occupation found an opportunity to contribute to the defense of their communities in the State Guard. The State Guard was a distinct military force active between 1942 and 1946, but separate from the National Guard. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, “The Arkansas State Guard was a military force that performed homeland defense, disaster relief, and search-and-rescue duties during World War II while the Arkansas National Guard was in federal service.” As such, these men performed community safety work that would typically be provided by the National Guard during peace time. However, they varied from war time Civil Defense personnel since they also acted as a military unit.

The Arkansas General Assembly originally authorized the formation of the State Guard under Act 85 of 1929. This legislation allowed the State Guard to organize during times of national emergency when at least 75 percent of the National Guard was incorporated into the active duty army. Many other states also organized similar units, which reflected the militia tradition throughout the nation. These militias only reported to the governors of their states and were bound to serve their localities. Federal law recognized this distinction of State Defense Forces and prohibited them from being called as a whole into regular service. This is unlike the National Guard which holds dual duties to both the state and federal governments under the Militia Act of 1903—a step that was necessary to regularize training, organization, and equipment of state forces to quickly and effectively augment the typically small peace time regular army during times of war.

Pictured at right are members of the Benton County unit of the Arkansas State Guard, which was based at the armory on South Eighth Street in Rogers. They originally formed in January 1942 as the Rogers Home Guard shortly after Battery F of the 142nd Field Artillery Battalion of the National Guard was federalized. The State Guard soon organized to fill the gap under the command of Colonel Hendrix Lackey. As part of the organization, the Rogers Home Guard became Company G, 6th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. The company provided 60 men of the 1,500 man statewide force. Generally organized as an infantry unit with attached medical personnel, each company of the State Guard usually contained 50 men commanded by a captain and two lieutenants. The statewide average ages of these soldiers were between 32 and 41. But the ages of the men serving in Company G ranged from 18 to 50.

They also reflected the militia tradition by electing their officers. R.L Vogt was elected captain and Edwin Mackey and Maurice Deason were appointed as lieutenants. Company G is shown in 1942 at the Rogers Armory in the picture at right. The Arkansas State Guard insignia is painted on the wall behind them. This insignia was also worn by members of the Guard as an embroidered unit device on the left shoulder. The unit attended weekly drills, but were only paid for their service while responding to emergencies or in annual training camps. Although our records are incomplete, some of the other known members of the company included Louis Brown, Jeff Duty, Lewis Lee, Jacob Green, Charles Bender, Herschel Back, Ralf Bender, Joe Bross, Roy Harris, Jack Slyter, Erwin Funk, and Thomas Keeling.

In 1942 the Rogers unit served in disaster relief efforts after a tornado struck Berryville and assisted in 1943 in the search for a missing child in Searcy County. They also supported large-scale deployments of the State Guard in response to other weather related emergencies during the war. The State Guard was disbanded on December 16, 1946 with the return of National Guard units to local control. Although it has not been reactivated since the end of World War II, it is interesting to note that it may be reactivated under state law during times of emergency.
 

More Photos of the Month

People:
Rogers Academy Class of 1896
Applegate Family
Bingham, George H.
John Black and Hugh “Tater” Black
Blackburn, J.A.C.
Blaylock, Sarah
Carter, C. Jimmie
Clarke, A.O.
Curry, Dr. William Jasper
Decker, Charles
Felker, William R.
Ford, Edsel
Funk, Erwin
Harvey, Coin
Hawkins, Harold and Frank Jr.
Hill, Fred
Jacobs, Thomas
Keck, Jack
Key, Vera
Kirksey, Birch
Lingle, Greer
Lockhart, Tracy
McNeil, Tom
Means, Joe
Morgan, Tom
Morsani, Al
Myler, John
The Sagers
Sikes, J. Wade

J.L. Shinpaugh, Rogers City Marshal
Steele, John Bell and Mary Van Winkle
Thaden, Louise
Rice, Dr. Rufus S.
Rogers, Betty Blake
Rogers, C.W.
Rogers Dough Boys
Rogers, Will

Tribble, Letsie
Truman Boling, Master Builder

Vick Will

Places:
Beaver Dam
Beaver Lake
Butterfield Trail
Camp Joyzelle
Confederate Monument
Coin Harvey’s Spring Lake and Falls
Lake Atalanta
Monte Ne
Old Highway 12 Bridge
Park Springs Park
War Eagle
The Amphitheater at Monte Ne
Silica Mining
Frisco Tunnel at Winslow
Wonderland Cave in Bella Vista
The Ozark Bluff Dwellers
Fisherman's Camp
Kruse's Gold Mine
Highway 71
Hanging Tree

Businesses:

The Apple Industry
Callahan's Station
Cattle Ranching
Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Daisy Manufacturing
Decker Motor Co.
Dyke Lumber Co.
Hailey Motor Co.
House of Webster
McNeil Chevrolet
Munsingwear
Poultry Industry
Pressing Sorghum Cane
Rogers Champion
Rogers Hardware Co.
Rogers Transfer & Storage
Suzie-Q Malt Shop
Wal-Mart

Wendt-Sonis

Schools:
Rogers Academy
Rogers High School
Sunnyside Elementary School

Buildings:
The Applegate house
112 South First Street
Bank Of Rogers Building
Benton County Jail
B.F. Sikes Log Cabin
Central Methodist Episcopal Church
J.B. Steele House, 303 South First Street
Juhre Building (1894)
Golden Rule Building (circa 1894)
Lane Hotel
Love's Sanitarium
Mutual Aid Union Building
Palace of the Ozarks
Rogers City Hall
Rogers City Jail
Rogers Milling Company
Rogers Opera House
Rogers Post Office
Rogers Wholesale Grocery Company
The Key Wing
The Stroud Building (1899)
The Victory Theater
James and Sally McDaniel Home

The Stroud Home
The Tribble House
The Rocky Branch School

Organizations:
206th C.A. A.A
Home Demonstration Club
Rogers First Elks Lodge
Rogers Garden Club
Women's Study Club/Mas Luz Club
Benton County Possum Hunters
Rogers High School Football Team 1921
Rogers High School Marching Band 1942
936th Field Artillery Battalion in the Korean War
1960's Rogers High School Spirit
Arkansas State Guard in WWII

Events:

Apple Blossom Festivals
Benton County Fair
Bolin Murder Inquest 
Ozark Golden Jubilee
Rogers Centennial Posse
Rogers Diamond Jubilee (1956)
Santa's Rocket Sleigh
Sledriding
The Arrival of Santa Claus (1945)
The Brightwater Train Wreck (1907)
The Great Car Skate on Lake Atalanta (1940)
Thanksgiving (1904)
The Last Reunion of Pea Ridge Veterans

Other:

Baseball
Cars
Chemical Engine
Christmas Memories
Frisco Railroad
Halloween
Mining in Northwest Arkansas
Natural Resources
Rogers' Congregational Church
Rogers Fire Department
Rogers Police Cars
St. Mary's Hospital
Tobacco and Benton County
Still Busting near Bentonville
Roadwork
John Boat
Quilts
Tall Tree Tales

Civil Defense in the 1960's
Early Cars
Rogers Yuletide
Brick Streets
Rural Road Work

 


 

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