Many people think of the National Guard as a way to avoid going to war. They think that the Guard is designed to be a type of civil service group, but the reality is that they are a military, or actually a militia group. Never has that fact come to light more than now. The National Guard is considered a part of the reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force. The difference between the regular military forces and the National Guard is that the National Guard usually serves in the United States, and not in wars abroad. Still, the president of the United States can “federalize” the National Guard for military action abroad. Reserve forces, including the guard, have made up about 45 percent of the personnel deployed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. While the deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan is currently the case, it is not normal procedure.
“The National Guard is a military reserve force composed of military members or units from each state and the territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, for a total of 54 separate organizations. All members of the National Guard of the United States are also members of the organized militia of the United States as defined by 10 U.S.C. § 246. Unlike the other parts of the military, these units are under the dual control of the state governments and the federal government, and can be deployed in disasters like hurricanes, tornados, floods, and even in situations of civil unrest and terrorist attacks.”
The National Guard was strictly a state-run militia before June 3, 1916, at which time, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the National Defense Act, which expanded the size and scope of the National Guard. Prior to the National Defense Act, the National Guard was used for the needs of each state only. I never really thought about a state-run militia before, but the network of states’ militias that had been developing steadily since colonial times, was now given the guaranteed status as the nation’s permanent reserve force. In times of the draft, the National Guard didn’t really get deployed. There were always enough soldiers available. It would most likely have to be a long-drawn-out war with many casualties before the National Guard was called out…as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Theodore Roosevelt and other Republicans felt that the United States needed to get into World War I, in the first half of 1916, but with forces from the regular US Army, as well as the National Guard called out to face Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa during his raids on states in the American Southwest, the need to reinforce the nation’s armed forces and increase US military preparedness became very apparent. The National Defense Act, ratified by Congress in May 1916 and signed by Wilson on June 3, brought the states’ militias more under federal control and gave the president authority, in case of war or national emergency, to mobilize the National Guard for the duration of the emergency. A logical use of the National Guard would have been during the riots seen in our country in 2019. The problem was that each state had to ask for help and some just didn’t.
One provision of the National Defense Act was that the term National Guard was to be used to refer to the combined network of states’ militias that became the primary reserve force for the US Army. The term had first been adopted by New York’s militia in the years before the Civil War in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, a French hero of the American Revolution who commanded the “Garde Nationale” during the early days of the French Revolution in 1789. I guess they liked the name and felt like it accurately depicted the purpose of this military force. Certain qualifications were also set in the National Defense Act. National Guard officers were allowed to attend Army schools. Also, all National Guard units would now be organized according to the standards of regular Army units. For the first time, National Guardsmen would receive payment from the federal government not only for their annual training…which was increased from 5 to 15 days, but also for their drills, which were also increased, from 24 per year to 48. Finally, the National Defense Act formally established the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) to train high school and college students for Army service.
My grand-nephew, Isaac Spethman has always been ahead of the game. He is highly motivated, and really very skilled, even though he is just turning fifteen today. Most kids, even at fifteen are still just interested in playing video games and hanging out with their friends. Isaac likes to do these things too, but Isaac started his first job when he was just seven. He walked just two doors down the street from his house, where the Grant Street Grocery was located. It was a place he and his siblings liked to go and buy treats, but Isaac had other ideas. He wanted a job. So, he “applied” for one. The owner, thinking that this was just a little boy who was playng grownup, told him to bring in his resume, and they would take a look. Well, they had misjudged Isaac. He went to his aunt, Liz Masterson, and ask for help with his resume. Liz is a teacher, so this was no problem, and when it was finished, Isaac took it to Grant Street Grocery and got the job, even though they had no openings. He helped out by sweeping, straightening, taking out the trash, and they even started teaching him about the cutting of the meat. It was a good job and Isaac learned a lot, about several things. He worked there until they sold the store, and the new owners didn’t see the value this young man holds. His work ethic has not changed, and today, at fifteen, Isaac has a job at Hardee’s in Casper…a job he started in August. He enjoys the work, and they like him too.
Isaac’s parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, have taught him about hunting and gun safety. He has been hunting and been very successful at it. He has also put that “butcher shop” training to good use, because he knows how to handle a knife, both at home and in the field. Isaac’s dad has built a forge for himself and his boys. Isaac forged and sold his first knife this year, so now he will have his own little business, if he chooses to continue forging knives for profit.
Isaac is also in the ROTC at school and really enjoys the discipline and the training. This was something he has chosen to do, and he feels like he has made an excellent choice. Isaac has a mind of his own, and a good head on his shoulders. Isaac is in the process of buying his own truck from our neighbor. Once again, in his own personal style, Isaac is way ahead of the norm for his age. Most kids wait until they turn 16 and then after using their parents’ car for a while, they finally decide that they need a vehicle of their own. Not there is nothing wrong with that, but it just isn’t Isaac’s style. He likes to make his own way. It is a trait that makes me and all his family very proud of him. Today is Isaac’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!