Maine State Guard

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Maine State Guard
Maine State Guard shoulder patch.png
The Maine State Guard shoulder patch
Country  United States
Allegiance  Maine
Branch Army
Type SDFBranchInsigniaColor.jpg  State defense force
Role Military reserve force
Size 1 regiment (World War I)
2,000 (World War II)
350+ cadre (Vietnam War)
Part of Maine Department of Defense, Veterans, and Emergency Management
Garrison/HQ Camp Keyes
Commanders
Civilian Leadership Governor of Maine

The Maine State Guard was the state defense force of the state of Maine during World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. As a state defense force, the State Guard served as a stateside replacement for the Maine National Guard when the National Guard was federalized. Like the National Guard, the State Guard was a reserve military force composed of members who held full-time civilian jobs and periodically met for drills, unless called into active service by the governor. However, unlike the National Guard, as a state defense force, the Maine State Guard was solely a state military force, which was immune from federalization and could not be deployed outside the state of Maine.

History of predecessor units[edit]

Prior to the creation of the National Guard of the United States, the United States armed forces consisted of a relatively small professional, full-time military supported by state militias. During the War of 1812, the relatively large size of the various Maine militias was enough to discourage enemy interventions at Wiscasset, Bath, and Portland.[1] In the American Civil War, Maine once again raiseed multiple units to fight for the United States. In the Spanish-American War, Maine mustered two units: the 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the Maine Volunteer Heavy Artillery Battalion.[2] Following the enactment of the Militia Act of 1903, the system of state militias was replaced by the federally-funded and controlled modern National Guard.

World War I[edit]

Maine’s National Guard was federalized during World War I. As a result, the War Department authorized the state to raise an infantry regiment which would be equipped by the federal government and left under state control. The Maine State Guard was then created to replace the absent National Guard.[3]

World War II[edit]

The federalization of the entire National Guard on the onset of World War II left states without a military force to protect infrastructure, respond to disasters, repel potential enemy incursions, and handle other emergencies that would normally fall to the National Guard.

The Maine State Guard was reactivated during World War II to replace the Maine National Guard by handling its stateside responsibilities, including assuming responsibility for natural disaster response and and quelling civil disturbances. The State Guard was headquartered in Camp Keyes, which was the headquarters of the Maine National Guard.[4]At one point, three companies of the Maine State Guard used their own vehicles to assist in the search for six German prisoners of war who had escaped while working in the woods.[5]

Vietnam War[edit]

The Maine State Guard was reorganized in the spring of 1969 at a cadre level, reaching a strength of 97 officers, 272 enlisted men, and a smaller number of inactive guardsmen designated as the Maine State Guard Reserve. The state appropriated $8,700 annually for the State Guard. Although the unit was never activated, they drilled regularly through the Vietnam War, but was reduced to a force existing only on paper following the end of the conflict.[5]

Legal status[edit]

State defense forces are authorized by the federal government under Title 32, Section 109 of the United States Code.[6] Twenty-three states and the territory of Puerto Rico currently maintain active state defense forces.[7] Maine state law also authorizes the governor to organize a state defense force under Title 37 of the Maine Revised Statutes.[8] Therefore, the Maine State Guard could be reactivated by the Governor of Maine through executive order using the existing legal framework for state defense forces, or by a legislative act.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ellis, James H. (207-218). A Ruinous and Unhappy War: New England and the War of 1812. New York: Algora Publishing. p. 2-7-218. ISBN 0875866913. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Unit Profiles, Rosters, and Photos". The Spanish-American War Centennial Website. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Our Proud History: World War I". The Official National Guard Official Website. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Maine Aviation Museum Guide". Skytamer Images. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Stentiford, Barry M. (2002). The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century. Texas A&M University Press. 174. ISBN 1585441813. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "32 U.S. Code § 109 - Maintenance of other troops". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Carafano, James Jay; Brinkerhoff, John R. (October 5, 2005). "Katrina's Forgotten Responders: State Defense Forces Play a Vital Role". www.heritage.org. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "§224. Maine State Guard". The Official Website of the Maine Legislature. Retrieved 9 August 2014.