Puerto Rico National Guard
|Puerto Rico National Guard|
DISTINCTIVE UNIT INSIGNIA
|Active||October 15, 1919–present|
|Size||Authorized strength: 8,500 Army and 1,500 Air Force|
|Part of||Puerto Rico Military Department|
|Garrison/HQ||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
The Puerto Rico National Guard (Spanish: Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico) is a component of the United States National Guard in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico. It comprises both Army and Air National Guard components with a total authorized strength of 10,000 soldiers and airmen. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state missions. The National Guard is the only United States military force empowered to function in a state status. Those functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full-scale law enforcement of martial law when local law enforcement officials can no longer maintain civil control. The National Guard may be called into federal service in response to a call by the President or Congress, usually at the request of the governor of the state. When under state/Territory control, the Governor serves as Commander-In-Chief.
When National Guard troops are called to federal service, the President serves as Commander-In-Chief. The federal mission assigned to the National Guard is: "To provide properly trained and equipped units for prompt mobilization for war, National emergency or as otherwise needed."
The Governor of Puerto Rico may call individuals or units of the Puerto Rico National Guard into state service during emergencies or to assist in special situations in which National Guard use is appropriate. The state mission assigned to the National Guard is: "To provide trained and disciplined forces for domestic emergencies or as otherwise provided by state law."
After the Spanish American War in 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States. US military authorities discussed Puerto Rico's military value. It offered tremendous commercial value in expanding commerce among the US, Central and South America. Because of the political changes in the beginning of the 20th century, the strategic military importance of Puerto Rico grew. In 1906, a group of Puerto Ricans met with the Governor Winthrop, and the Commissioner of Interior, Lawrence H. Graham, to organize a National Guard of Puerto Rico. The public supported this effort and some companies were organized, in different towns around the island: Yauco under the command of Captain Santiago Vivaldi; Juana Díaz, commanded by Captain Diaz-Brik; Peñuelas by Captain Gabino Balasquide; and two in Ponce by Pedro Juan Armstrong, Mario Belaval, J. Oppenheimer, F. del Valle and Doctor Laguna. In San Juan three companies were organized under Federico Vall-Spinosa, Justo Barros, J. del Barril, R. Swigett, J. Doere, Lugo Vinas and F. Fano.
As the companies were being formed, all of the officers and soldiers had to purchase their own uniforms and supplies, since there was no government funding for the enterprise. This organization failed due to existing U. S. federal law, which prohibited the formation of any armed force within the United States and its territories without authorization from Congress.
During World War I, Puerto Ricans served in the 373d, 374th, and 375th Infantry Regiments of the National Army and the Puerto Rican Regiment of the Regular Army. Approximately 20,000 troops were trained at Camp Las Casas. The young Puerto Rican officer, Luis Raúl Estevez, thought a Puerto Rican National Guard was needed. As the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, he had learned about military units in other states. He discussed the issue with the governor of Puerto Rico, Arthur Yager, soon after the conclusion of World War I. The governor, Legislature of Puerto Rico, and US Congress approved the plan, and the National Guard was organized in 1919. In 1938, Luis R. Esteves was promoted to Major General and appointed as Adjutant General of the Puerto Rican National Guard.
The first regiment of the Puerto Rico National Guard, "First Infantry Regiment", was organized on June 2, 1920 and reorganized on December 26, 1922, as the 295th Infantry Regiment. On March 1, 1936, the 296th Infantry Regiment was organized. Before, the 296th existed as a battalion of the 295th Infantry Regiment.
On October 30, 1950, the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party organized a series of uprisings in numerous cities in Puerto Rico against United States rule and the Puerto Rican commonwealth government in what is known as the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party Revolts of the 1950s. The Puerto Rico National Guard was mobilized under the command of Puerto Rico Adjutant General Luis R. Esteves by orders of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín and sent to confront the Nationalists in various towns such as Jayuya, Utuado and San Juan.
- Puerto Rico Army National Guard
- 92nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
- 101st Troop Command
- 191st Regional Support Group - The unit's federal (MTOE/TDA) mission is to '..Deploys to provide contingency and expeditionary Base Operations Support, with responsibilities for managing facilities, providing administrative and logistical support of soldier services, and ensuring the security of personnel and facilities on a base camp.' The unit has been in command of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Headquarters and Headquarters Company since its arrival in December 2008. Their mission while deployed is expansive, ranging from service member safety to housing issues. In addition to its far-reaching responsibilities, the group has also had to learn to work with and rely on one another, since the unit was formed shortly before deploying.
The Adjutant General is the Executive Officer and Commander of both the Puerto Rico National Guard and the Puerto Rico State Guard.
Governor Luis Fortuño appointed Major General Antonio J. Vicens as the 20th Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard on January 2, 2009. He holds a B.B.A-Management Degree from the University of Puerto Rico.
Former Adjutants General
- General David Carrión
- General Fernando Chardón
- Major General Emilio Díaz Colón
- Major General Antonio J. Vicens
- Major General William Miranda Marín (1990–1992)
- Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center on 12,000 acres of land located in Salinas, Puerto Rico is the island's premier National Guard training facility. Though it has no permanent residents, Camp Santiago can house thousands of troops on a temporary basis. Some old barracks are being replaced with new two-level barracks. In addition to rifle and small arm ranges, a leadership reaction course, and dining facilities and classrooms, Camp Santiago houses a Puerto Rico National Guard Museum, a theater, a Class Six Shoppette and, since 2009, a post exchange on base. A $1.7 million Urban Assault Course is to be constructed at Camp Santiago. National Guard units from other states also come to Camp Santiago for their two weeks annual training. In 1975 the facility was renamed from Camp Salinas to Camp Santiago in honor of Specialist Four Héctor Santiago-Colón, who received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. Salinas was Santiago's birth place.
- Fort Allen, located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Juana Díaz, is the site of the Puerto Rico National Guard Language Center. Many PRNG and U.S. Army Reserve units are stationed at Fort Allen. The National Guard's Youth Challenge Program operates at Fort Allen, graduating hundreds of high school students each year who had formerly dropped out of school. The Relocatable Over the Horizon (ROTHR) receiver site has operated at Fort Allen since the 1990s; it is part of a surveillance network designed to monitor flights over an area encompassing more than 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2) in South America. The (ROTHR) radar consists of 34 antennas and support structure from 71 to 123 feet (37 m) tall. Barracks can house military personnel on a temporary basis, NGX has a post exchange on base, and an Armed Forces Reserve Center is under construction. Previously Fort Allen was used by the US Army as the Losey Army Airfield during WWII, and later used as a U.S. Navy communications center. Since 1980, Fort Allen has been under control of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
- Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina is the home of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard 156th Airlift Wing and the 198th Airlift Squadron. Muñiz ANGB has hangars, command offices, a recruiting office, classrooms, maintenance shops, a community club, a Family Readiness Center, a post barbershop, and NGX has a post exchange on base. Muñiz ANGB is also the home of the STARBASE youth program in Puerto Rico. Operation Coronet Oak shares Muñiz ANGB flight line with the 156th Airlift Wing, which also flies C-130 military transport airplanes. In 1963 this Air base was renamed Muñiz Air National Guard Base while commemorating the 20th year of its federal recognition.
- Punta Borinquen Radar Station located next to Punta Borinquen Golf Course at the former Ramey Air Force Base is home for the Puerto Rico Air National Guard 141st Air Control Squadron.
- Punta Salinas Radar Station in Toa Baja is operated by the Puerto Rico Air National Guard's 140th Air Defence Squadron. Its mission is to provide air traffic control to the Federal Aviation Administration, and provide support for military and law enforcement operations.
- Isla Grande Aviation Support Facility is located at the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan. Its mission is to support the Puerto Rico Army National Guard aviation units.
- National Guard armories are located in Aibonito, Aguadilla, Arecibo, Arroyo, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Cayey, Ceiba, Coamo, Guayama, Gurabo, Humacao, Juncos, Mayaguez, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San German, Utuado, Vega Baja and San Juan. Some of these armories will be closed, and Puerto Rico National Guard units will move into to new Armed Forces Reserve Centers in Ceiba, Mayaguez, Fort Allen and Fort Buchanan.
Community Outreach Programs
- Drug Demand Reduction Program -
- The National Guard uses its resources to help the island's youth to be drug-free. The Drug Demand Reduction Program works closely with local law enforcement, education and community-based organizations to reduce the chances of exposure of illegal drugs to American children. They also provide National Guard-led education-based, leadership and motivational programs. Drug Demand Reduction directly interacts with children through their KEY National Initiative, Drug Free Starts with Me. The program visits local schools and communities around the island to increase awareness and motivation, and provide leadership, guidance and support to adolescents about their choice to remain drug-free.
- This program intervenes with 16-18 year old high school dropouts to help them reclaim their lives; it helps them graduate with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. Founded in the 1990s during the administration of Governor Pedro Rosselló, the program has had thousands of dropouts participate and graduate.
- STARBASE Youth Program -
- As an acronym of Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Education, this youth program is intended to help students from 4th - 12th grade to improve their math and science skills through aviation. The program starts in elementary school to attract and prepare students at an early age for careers in engineering and other science-related fields of study. The program principally exposes at-risk children and their teachers to real-world applications of math and science; it includes experiential learning, simulations, and experiments in aviation and space-related fields. The program also addresses drug use prevention, health, self esteem and life skills within a math-and science-based program. Founded in 1995 by SSgt Elaine Montgomery, the program celebrates its 15th anniversary in May, 2010.
Honors and awards
- Military Medal of Honor of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico Medal for Distinguished Service
- Puerto Rico Medal of Valor
- Puerto Rico Merit Cross
- Puerto Rico Wounded in Action Medal
- Order of the Governor of Puerto Rico Common Defense Service Medal
- Puerto Rico Combat Service Medal
- Puerto Rico Commendation Medal
- Puerto Rico Outstanding Soldier/NCO of the Year Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Service Medal
- Puerto Rico Exemplary Conduct Ribbon
- Puerto Rico War Service Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Hurricane Georges Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Active Duty for Training Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Caribbean Emergency Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Civil Disturbance Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Law Enforcement Ribbon
- Puerto Rico VIII Pan-American Games Support Ribbon
- Puerto Rico English Language Proficiecy Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Counterdrug Service Ribbon
- Puerto Rico 1992 Regatta Ribbon
- Puerto Rico Community Service Ribbon
- Military history of Puerto Rico
- Camp Las Casas
- Puerto Rico Air National Guard
- Puerto Rico State Guard
- 65th Infantry Regiment
- List of Puerto Rican military personnel
- Puerto Rican Campaign
- Puerto Rican recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross
- Puerto Rican recipients of the Medal of Honor
- Puerto Rican recipients of the Navy Cross
- Puerto Rican women in the military
- Puerto Ricans in World War I
- Puerto Ricans in World War II
- Puerto Ricans in the Vietnam War
- Puerto Ricans Missing in Action - Korean War
- Puerto Ricans Missing in Action - Vietnam War
- Puerto Rico Adjutant General
- El ataque Nacionalista a La Fortaleza; by Pedro Aponte Vázquez; Page 7; Publisher: Publicaciones RENÉ; ISBN 978-1-931702-01-0
- U.S. Department of Defense, DVIDS
- Bibliography of Puerto Rico Army National Guard History compiled by the United States Army Center of Military History
- Puerto Rico Guard Homepage