California National Guard
The California Army National Guard was formed with the passing of the Militia Act of 1903, also known as the Dick Act. Prior to that time, the California Army Guard originated from the state militia established by the Constitution of California in 1849. On April 4, 1850, the first California Legislature in San Jose adopted enabling legislation formally establishing a militia of volunteer or independent companies.
As the secession crisis developed in early 1861, several Volunteer Companies of the California Militia had disbanded because of divided loyalties and new ones with loyal Union men were sworn in across the state under the supervision of County sheriffs and judges. In 1862, the crisis of the American Civil War compelled the militia to be reorganized. During the Civil War 88 militia companies had been formed to serve, if required, in their respective localities, or to respond to a call from the governor.
In 1866, the Legislature for the first time employed the term “National Guard” as the title of the organized uniformed troops of the State of California. The statute provided for the organization of the National Guard, General and Special Staffs, formations of companies, service, arms and equipment, created a Board of Organization, formed a Board of Military Auditors, adopted a system of instruction and drill, described in detail the duties of the Adjutant General, created privileges and exemptions, allowances and expenses, limited the issuance of arms to troops only, provided for military musters and active service.
The Militia Act of 1903 organized the various state militias into the present National Guard system. Between the wars the 79th Infantry Brigade existed in the state, with the 159th and 184th Infantry Regiments. Soon after World War II the 49th Infantry Division was organized in the state, but it disappeared after later reorganization. On February 1, 1976, the 49th Infantry Brigade, California Army National Guard, was re-designated the 49th MP Brigade at Alameda, California.
Units and members of the California Army National Guard have served in: World War I, World War II, Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Sinai Peninsula, Qatar, Germany, Spain, Panama, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, during the L.A. Riots, on the US/Mexico Border mission, during Hurricane Katrina humanitarian efforts, in airports and seaports around California, in various military bases across the US in support of Homeland Security, and more.
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