History of the Michigan National Guard

  • Michigan's Early Organized Militias Pre-dating the state, Michigan's first militia was organized at Detroit. The Michigan National Guard's proud history of service to state and nation is built on these humble beginnings.
  • The War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War In the War of 1812, Michigan militiamen fought for the United States. Hardship during the march to the Mississippi took its toll on Michigan's participation in the Black Hawk War.
  • The Toledo War

    Long before the war-of-words ever started between Wolverine and Buckeye fans...before Michigan football, or even a State of Michigan, Michigan's territorial militia marched toward the Ohio border prepared for battle in 1835.

  • The Patriot War Following the Toledo War and statehood, a band of U.S citizens attempted to gain control of part of Canada, then under British control. Michigan's militia became involved and played a role in keeping Canada intact.
  • War with Mexico Michigan's military served to protect the state and in the battle area during the war with Mexico. The conflict raged from 1846 until 1848.
  • The Civil War President Lincoln exclaimed "Thank God for Michigan!" when told of the arrival of the First Michigan Volunteers in answer to his call for troops at the start of the Civil War. Eventually, 23% of Michigan's male population would fight for the Union cause.
  • Post-Civil War Spurred on by the events of the Franco-Prussian War, the state legislature formed the Michigan State Troops.
  • The Spanish-American War Michigan's troops answered the call for the Spanish-American War, volunteering almost to the man.
  • The Copper Strikes Protesting working conditions, copper miners went on strike in 1913. Things turned ugly and Houghton's sheriff called for Michigan National Guard assistance.
  • Mexican Border Duty Michigan National Guard units saw duty along the Mexican border during 1916.
  • World War I National Guardsmen from Michigan and Wisconsin formed the 32nd "Red Arrow" Division, so named because of their quick advances through German lines.
  • Labor Troubles in Flint The Governor called on the Michigan National Guard to help restore order in Flint in the wake of labor disputes there.
  • Preparing for World War II The U.S. military underwent a major reorganization in 1940. Under these auspices, several Michigan National Guard units were mobilized for training. They did not return home until 1945-46.
  • Michigan National Guard in World War II Units of the Michigan National Guard served with distinction in both the European and Pacific Theaters during World War II.
  • Reorganizing the Guard Post-World War II After World War II, the War Department deactivated National Guard units. Returning Guardsmen had to establish new organizations.
  • The Korean Conflict Michigan National Guard members were again called for Federal duty during the Korean Conflict.
  • The Tumultuous 1960s Foreign and domestic crises both natural and man-made are the hallmarks of the 1960s. The Michigan National Guard was busy.
  • Post-Vietnam Significant changes faced the Michigan National Guard during the period following the Vietnam conflict.
  • The Persian Gulf Conflict Over 1,600 Michigan National Guard members served during the Persian Gulf conflict. Thirteen units from across the state participated.
  • Post-Desert Storm Members of Michigan's National Guard units have been busy with a number of mobilizations since the end of the Persian Gulf conflict.
  • Dawn of the New Millennium The Michigan National Guard is adapting to the changing security environment of today's world. The events of September 11, 2001 have reinforced the Guard's sense of purpose.

Spotlight on Michigan Guard Units

Interesting Michigan Military History