The Delaware State Guard, A History
November 2010
Brig. Gen. Kennard R. Wiggins, (DE ANG Ret)













The National Guard has its roots in the pre-colonial militia when “minutemen” citizen soldiers
took up arms as needed to defend their homes and farms in their communities.  It is an
organization that steadily increased its breadth of capability in order to defend the state, and the
nation, at home and then overseas.  It progressively became more professional with higher
standards of performance and with increasingly sophisticated equipment and training. Its
mission evolved from a local defense force to an organization designed for the dual role of
protecting state and nation.

In peacetime, the National Guard commander is the governor and the Guard is a resource for
civil emergency, natural disaster relief, and other state needs.  Yet in war, the Guard could be
federalized and become a national asset commanded by the President to defend the country.  The
question that then arose; if the National Guard is federalized and deployed, then who would see
to the traditional mission needs of the state?

World War I

During the preparedness period just prior to U.S. involvement in World War I, Congress
consented to establishing home defense forces for the states in the event that the National Guard
was federalized. Subsequently, state legislatures authorized defense forces. The Home Defense
Act of June 1917 authorized the Secretary of War to equip these “home guards” with missions
focused on security and civil defense.


A committee was formed in Delaware led by John A. Tuefer including Felix duPont, Walter
Parker, Harry Speakman and Phillip Laird to organize a Home Guard in February 1917. There
was a sense of urgency to launch the enterprise before the Delaware Guard left for the Southern
Training Camps. The Home Guard would replace the Delaware National Guard in guarding
critical facilities in the State. It would be open to men under 21 years of age and those over 45 as
well as draft age men otherwise ineligible for active service.

According to the Biennial Report of the Adjutant General, Delaware, I.P. Wickersham, December
31, 1918, “In accordance with General Order No. 10 this office, as amended by General Order
No. 21, December 21, 1917, providing for the organization of Companies of Infantry for duty
within the state, I have to report that one Company together with a Supply Detachment,
aggregating four officers and seventy one enlisted men has been organized and stationed in
Wilmington. This Company is well uniformed, armed, equipped and instructed.  The officers
and men of this company are to be commended for their attention to their military duties,
having responded for drill two evenings each week for the past year”.

Additionally, the nationally-based U.S. Guard, which came to number 26,000, culled from the
ranks of those deemed unfit for overseas deployment, to oversee internal security was
established by the War Department as a facsimile of Britain’s Home Guard. It contributed 48
battalions under the responsibility of the Chief of the
Militia Bureau. A fair share of their officers
were business men who had a personal interest in preserving law and order.  Much of their
training was in riot control.

By 1918, over 100,000 men were serving in 42 state guards. But rather than use the militia to
build the regular army, during the war the military relied primarily on draft calls to fill the huge
manpower requirement required of the “Army of the United States” formally established in July
1918.

The coming of the next World War was a turning point for the state militias. Both the state
defense forces and the National Guard itself had declined in numbers and readiness during the
interwar years.

Presidential Call-up

As war clouds in Europe and Asia began to threaten, on September 16th, 1940 the Delaware
National Guard was called up for federal service by Executive Order Number 8530 for a one year
term by President Roosevelt as part of the largest peacetime mobilization in the nation’s history.  
The 198th Coast Artillery was sent to New York.  Downstate, the 261st Coast Artillery Battalion
was trained at Fort DuPont and then later posted to Fort Miles.  Although they remained in
state, they were now a federal asset whose focus was the defense of the Delaware Bay and river
estuary.

State governors were uneasy over leaving their constituents unprotected and thus state guards
were recreated by the time of American entry into World War II. From our perspective,
American victory in the World Wars seems almost pre-ordained.  But in those times the outlook
was far less certain.  America entered World War II stung by a series of defeats, when it looked
like the Axis powers might continue their progress right up to our very seaboard. These were
nervous times when fifth columnists were thought to be abroad, and when sabotage and
insurrection were thought to be possibilities.

In 1940, Section 61 of the old National Defense Act of 1916 was modified to again allow the
establishment of state defense forces. An amendment specified that state forces would be limited
to duties as determined by their respective state governors.

Legislation was passed by the Delaware General Assembly on April 14, 1941 “to provide for the
Creation, Maintenance, Discipline, Legislation and Use of the Delaware State Guard”  
(significantly, well before war was declared).  This act enabled the State Guard to assume the
state mission the Delaware National Guard had previously held. Their federalization effectively
led to the disbandment of the former organization as a state entity until it could be re-organized
post bellum. The legislation provided that the governor could establish a State Guard when the
National Guard was in federal service, however, and could be organized and maintained as he
felt necessary to defend the State. All members were to be uniformed volunteers. Although they
were unpaid volunteers, if they were to be called out for an emergency, they would be granted
pay and subsidence for each day’s service.  The state legislature apportioned $50,000 towards the
establishment of the State Guard.

Enlistments in the Delaware State Guard were for one year.  Members were not exempt from
being called into federal service via the draft.  The State Guard was forbidden to serve outside
state borders except with the consent of the governor, and the governor of the state to be
entered.   In the case of “hot pursuit” of saboteurs, insurrectionists, and enemy forces, the guard
could offer its services to a neighboring state, and reciprocity was anticipated if the reverse were
true. Similarly, by Pearl Harbor, State Guards were stood up in 37 states and involved 90,000
men. By 1945, 47 states and territories had organized home guards consisting of 150,000 troops.

In May 1941, Colonel J. Paul Heinel was appointed commanding officer of the Delaware State
Guard by Paul R. Rinard, the Adjutant General for Delaware.  Heinel was a World War I
veteran who had been wounded in action serving with the “Fighting 69th” and later
commanded Battery D of the 198th Regiment Coast Artillery.  He described the State Guard
mission as: “The State Guard will be used as a reserve force only and then only for a short
period. They will be called out only for emergency situations and then only for brief periods
until relieved by other forces.”

Heinel’s executive officer was Lt. Colonel Victor Clark, also a World War I veteran and of the
Medical Corps and a 19 year veteran of the Delaware National Guard.

State Guard is formed

In May 1941 organizational meetings were conducted throughout the state to form what was
then labeled the “Home Guard”.  General Paul Rinard, Adjutant General for Delaware explained
and discussed the structure and programs of the nascent organization. The Middletown
Transcript quoted President Roosevelt in a fireside chat,” the war is coming close to home”, and
the reporter added, “It seems time for all patriotic men and women to face this grim reality.  It
would seem the least every able bodied man can do is attend this meeting and join the home
guard.  Here is an opportunity for patriotic service, improved health, and social expansion of
the community.”

By the following month, the first meetings were held.  On May 26, 51 men of the Middletown
platoon attended the first drill in the Dover Armory.  They met again in July on their home turf
at St. Andrews School.  The men elected Rae A. Kneeshaw as first lieutenant, and the Rev.
Walden Pell II, headmaster at St. Andrews, as their second lieutenant. The men had been issued
temporary uniforms, cartridge belts, overseas caps, and equipped with rifles.  They planned their
marksmanship training and scheduled future parades in Dover, Smyrna, and at the Harrington
State Fair.

A September 1941 account described the uniforms received at that time as, “khaki coveralls
trimmed with blue piping patterned after the one piece suits used by army aviators. White
canvas leggings, and white field caps trimmed with blue piping similar in design to overseas
caps will complete the equipment selected by Adjutant General Paul Rinard, Colonel Heinel and
other officers. The material is washable and water repellent.”  Additional details of the uniform
were a black tie, khaki shirts and brown shoes. The officers sported garrison caps, brown coats,
white shirts, black ties, Sam Brown belts, slacks and russet shoes.

The new organization proved almost immediately useful to the community. The State Guard of
Company B volunteered to help a disabled farmer and his ailing wife to successfully reap his 25
acre cornfield.   

The entire State Guard Battalion was on parade in October reviewed by General Rianrd and
Governor Bacon and 1500 spectators at St. Andrews School in Middletown in their first major
public appearance.  More than 250 of the 350 men from companies in Wilmington Dover,
Middletown and Milford were present for the parade.  Close order drill was performed; a riot
drill, various maneuvers and medical demonstrations were offered.  A “gas attack” was staged
and first aid was practiced to the delight of the crowd. The State Guard band entertained the
attendees led by Lieutenant Colonel J. Norris Robinson aged 76, whose military service dated
back to 1882. The Delaware National Guard Band itself, dated from 1900 and was founded and
organized by Norris.

The governor congratulated the officers and men.  He said,” I scarcely have enough words of
praise to tell you how much I have enjoyed the review. I wish that every citizen in the state may
have an opportunity to see this guard. I do not know when you men may be needed but I am
confident you are prepared to meet any emergency. You have made a fine beginning with your
diligent work.”  

The Governor was more prescient than he knew. Hostilities were only six weeks into the future.
More parades were planned for Wilmington and Milford during the autumn.  The Dover unit
planned both a Thanksgiving and a New Year’s dance in the armory starring “Sid Foster and
his Cadets”, the cost was $1.10 per person and Governor Bacon was invited to attend. These
peacetime niceties would soon be displaced by the grim reality of war.

War is declared

Days after Pearl Harbor, General Rinard prepared the State Guard of the serious work of
guarding the home front.  “If anyone thinks this a play organization, it’s time for him to either
get out or get rid of such ideas.  Anything might be expected of you men now that war has been
declared.”  The Adjutant General noted that the men were now subject to the orders of the
Governor and military discipline. The Guard might be used for duty at bridgeheads, along
railroads, at important rail and highway bridges, and at various industrial plants where
sabotage might be attempted. He added, “It’s going to be hard work, and may include difficult
anti-sabotage work with no glory and a lot of labor.”

The uncertainty of the new war continued.  At the turn of the year, a wary governor Bacon
declared, “I am concerned as are the Army and Navy officials in this area about what may
happen. It is high time we agreed to do something. For the first time in any war, the civilian at
home is perhaps in more danger than members of the armed forces. It’s your job” he continued,
then citing the states defense laws he added, “don’t wait until you’re forced.”  The governor said
that “there are teeth in the Delaware law, but we don’t want to have to use them.”

At the onset of war, there had evidently been efforts by various civic groups and clubs wishing
to form their own self-defense units. These efforts were discouraged by General Rinard citing
security concerns and international law regarding prisoners.  He suggested that they channel
their patriotic energies toward the officially recognized and sanctioned Delaware State Guard
which had built a foundation over the previous eight months.

The State Guard organization began as one battalion, but over the course of the war it grew to
a regiment with two battalions numbering some 450-500 men with seven line companies of
soldiers. Companies in Middletown and New Castle were added in August 1942. The men were
ages 38-50 as well as younger men deferred because of dependents or occupations, those rejected
because of slight physical disabilities, and youths of pre-induction age. The Journal Every
Evening  described them as, “businessmen, tradesmen, professional men and workers at war
plants.  During the day, they are plain Joe or Bill; Mr. Jones lawyer, or Mr. Smith architect. But
on drill night, when they shed their civilian clothes and don regulation uniforms of the State
Guard, they take over the responsibilities of their military ranks and become soldiers. ”

Colonel J. Paul Heinel added, “Men join the State Guard because they feel they want to be of
some service to their country and their state. There is no compulsion in joining.”

Attached to Headquarters Company was a Grenadiers Platoon under Captain George H.
Latham, trained to throw grenades, fire automatic weapons and operate gas and smoke
dispensers. The organization included a medical detachment led by Major Raymond A. Lynch
and a band under Captain J. Norris Robinson, who had been connected with Delaware
National Guard Bands since 1902.

Ordnance and equipment were furnished by the federal government, and uniforms were
provided initially by the state. Originally given about 300 1903 Model Springfield rifles, the War
Department withdrew about 100 rifles in May 1942 and replaced them with repeater guard
shotguns.  The Delaware State Guard initially focused on a role as a combat unit, not as a police
force. They followed training guidance from the Commanding General of the Second Service
Command. The members drilled one night per week at their local armories.  

“A visitor is impressed at once with the earnestness with which the men take the volunteer
work.  The huge hall echoes with the rhythmic “hup-hup-hup” of the drill masters, the tramp
of recruits learning the new infantry movements, the maneuver of the “flying wedge” wrote a
newspaper reporter. One soldier, Kenneth (K.P.) Brown found it remarkable that so many
fellows would turn out, and demonstrate so much enthusiasm without any recompense. Brown
would later retire as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Delaware National Guard after three decades of
service. He recalled that the weekly training focused on mostly on basic infantry skills,
marching and drill.

The Journal Every Evening described the training activity as “One unit practices wedge
formations, another studies the use of machine guns, a third takes apart and replaces Thompson
submachine guns.  In the balcony, a group of men pores over topographical maps. In the
headquarters a small battery of clerks works against time keeping records straight.”  Weather
permitting, the company takes to the fields and wooded country of nearby Brandywine for brief
maneuvers.  The men would also practice marksmanship at the River Road rifle range. The
standard weapon was the 1903 Model Springfield bolt action .30 caliber rifle, later in the war
replaced by the M-1.

These were no sunshine patriots playing at soldier.  Colonel John Rachek, formerly Officer in
Charge of State Guard Affairs with Second Service Command wrote, “I have never seen more
earnest, willing to learn personnel than the members of State Guards, who without
compensation of any kind, and at their own expense, at nights, and on weekends, have taken
part in military training in order to be better prepared for any emergency.  I can never forget
one hot Sunday along the Chesapeake Canal we were training in tactical problems because
things did not look well for our country.  One member of the Delaware State Guard looked very
ill to me so I spoke to two other soldiers to help him over the fence.  He was offended, and
refused any help. However, upon getting over the fence, he fell completely exhausted.  No man
can give any more to his country than that soldier did on that hot Sunday afternoon”.

An early surprise mobilization of the State Guard was a success when 267 of the 350 men
reported for assembly from all over the state in Dover during an April 1942 exercise. It was the
first time they had swung into action and state officials were impressed with the response. It
was also a first mobilization test for the Red Cross which established a mobile canteen to provide
coffee, sandwiches, and doughnuts to the Guardsmen deployed.

Before organizing annual summer encampments, the commissioned officers and NCOs
conducted training at St. Andrews school in Middletown, in August 1942 consisting of target
practice, military tactics, and army regulations.

Maneuvers were conducted along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal involving five companies
(Companies A,B,D,E, and F) of men from Delaware and one from the Maryland State Guard in
June 1943. The maneuvers were centered on the bridges crossing the canal in an exercise
designed by Col. George Ruhlen of Fort DuPont.

State officials had hoped for an organization of about 600 men but that goal was never quite
reached, partly because they faced membership losses through induction into the armed forces as
wartime activities accelerated.  Recruiting became a constant priority in the face of these
pressures. General Paul Rinard went onto the radio to address the public on WDEL in January
1943 to launch a determined recruiting drive.  He was followed by Governor Bacon in April.  
They particularly sought men not likely to be inducted, who were “of good moral character,
interested in the work being done by the organization, and willing to attend drills regularly.”

Recruiting Challenge

Recruiting was always a challenge as members either enlisted or were drafted into active service.  
State Guardsmen conducted basic principles of military training within local high schools in a
wartime effort to begin the readiness of the youth who would later be bound for war.  It was
also a gateway to recruiting these same youth into the State Guard which sought pre-induction
age youth.  The State Guard offered no pay and few incentives other than the chance to get fit,
and acquire discipline and training.  The experience gained also held out the possibility of rapid
advancement once they were inducted into the regular forces.  Appeals were made to the
patriotism, public service, and sense of community membership brought. There were some perks
however, such as free movie theater tickets at the Capitol Theater in Dover, and free
transportation and tickets to the Wilmington Clippers football game.

Air wardens and auxiliary police were invited to join the Guard as the war progressed.  The Air
Raid Wardens became less active as the threat of air attack decreased, and the auxiliary police
were thought to be more useful as State Guardsmen.

Field Encampment

The first field encampment was held at Fort DuPont on July 31st, to August 8, 1943.  The field
training supplemented the fundamentals learned at weekly drill.  Two hundred men attended
the one week encampment. Their rigorous schedule included a nine-hour day consisting of eight
hours of outdoor training and one hour of lecture or training films. On Friday August 5th they
practiced night patrols. At retreat the men changed from their fatigues to their suntan uniforms.
The men fired Tommy guns, wore gas masks, and did field exercises, learning the basics of
modern warfare. They attended classes, watched training films on first aid, and battle
formations. The exercise was paid high compliments by Colonel George Ruhlen, the
commanding officer at Fort DuPont, for the unit’s demonstrated proficiency.

A highlight of the week was a nearly day long visit by Governor Bacon on August 6th,
designated as Governor’s Day.  Scheduled events for Governor’s Day included hand grenade
practice and simulated battle practice, with close order drill.  In the afternoon a ceremony was
conducted to award the Silver Star by Colonel Ruhlen to the father of Walter J. Farrell, captured
by the Nazis in North Africa.  A color guard was selected for the review of the troops that
included First Sergeant John J. Hall, Staff Sergeant Claude Fouracre, Staff Sergeant Lester
Creeneley, and Sergeant Harry Fox.

Governor Bacon was obviously impressed with his home team soldiers.  He said, “I cannot say
too much in commendation of the members of the State Guard.  Their attendance was
voluntary, and without compensation. Their schedule was long in hours and physically
rigorous. As governor of the state I am more than ever reassured that in these men, we have a
force that can offer adequate protection in any state emergency that may arise and I wish to
extend to them my appreciation for the service they are rendering.”

The encampment concluded with a ball game between the two provisional companies, and
another review. The State Guard regularly sponsored intramural basketball games and dances at
the various armories throughout the state.  They also participated in numerous community
parades and bond drives.

Annual Camp was a highlight, but training continued throughout the year. Company D in
Middletown was given a surprise riot control exercise in September 1943 with a simulated riot
downtown at Cochran Square and Broad Street.  Riot formations and close order drill were
exercised.   The typical company experienced regular drills and exercises as well as federal
inspections.

Federal inspections were surprisingly rigorous for a part-time force.  A January 1943 inspection
by Colonel Ruhlen of Fort DuPont and Lt.Col. John Rachek of Governor’s Island New York
conducted in Middletown was thorough and detailed, looking at men, equipment and training. .

In a May 1944 efficiency competition, Company A, of Wilmington, commanded by Captain
Walter Deputy was rated highest among eight units in the state for the first quarter.  Their
efficiency rating was based upon authorized strength percentage, attendance, training
programs, equipment reports, mobilization plans, service records, fingerprint notations,
appearance, military courtesy and discipline, first aid, gas mask drill, manual of arms, close order
drill, extended order drill, guard duty, recruit school, non-commissioned officers school, small
arms training, and care of equipment.

By June 1, 1944 the Guard had received their outfit of Army uniforms in olive drab bearing the
State Guard insignia as well as a consignment of submachine guns. Ken Brown recalls a blue
uniform with a round hat before they began to wear the Army fatigues. A February 1944 report
described them as the green CCC uniforms which were retired as the new uniforms arrived.  
This must have been a real morale booster after nearly four years in hand-me-downs.  By
October, the men had been issued their winter uniforms. The following May, these were
exchanged in turn, for summer uniforms.  

For the annual encampment Colonel Heinel ordered that the enlisted men will take the
following equipment: “Coverall, issue shoes, helmet liner, gas mask, water canteen, web belt,
bayonet, denim coat, trousers and hat: raincoat, rifle, waist belt, and revolver for non-coms;
khaki cotton shirt, trousers, tie, cap, dress shoes, towels, was cloth, underwear, socks, tooth
brush and paste, bathing suit, shaving outfit, soap, shoe polish and rag, comb and brush, and a
small mirror.”

In November 1944 the State Guard had reached a near zenith in its growth and it reorganized
itself into a full regiment with two battalions. Major J. Holland Prettyman, former commander
of the Company C, Milford, was named commander of First Battalion, and Major Walter M.
Deputy, former commander of Company A, Wilmington was named as commander of Second
Battalion. Both officers were promoted from Captain at the time of their appointment.

James Warner Bellah, an admired adventure writer (
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, et al)
who had just returned from active service inthe Far East was credited by newpaperman Bill
frank with authoring some exciting scenarios for maneuvers.

Brigadier General Paul Rinard, the adjutant general for Delaware talked about post-war plans
for the State Guard in September 1944.  “There are two thoughts on the future of the National
Guard after the war,” he said. “The first is that the State Guard will provide a nucleus from
which a new National Guard organization will be formed.  Men in the State Guard who will be
too old for active service at the end of the war will be replaced. The second thought is that the
former Delaware National Guard organization of the state will be reformed. There is some belief
that if a universal military training act is adopted, the trainees would serve in the National
Guard for a limited period for training.” (Author’s note: Universal training was not adopted
post war as described). He added, “State Guard officers now serving, will be replaced by
younger officers after the war.”

Change of mission emphasis

The War Department clarified the mission and emphasized their primary function was to insure
the internal security of the State during the absence of the National Guard.  They did not view
the State Guard as a combat unit for anything but the most sporadic of raids by an invading
enemy. This statement of emphasis shifted the focus of training away from combat to internal
security.

At a review in Middletown, a Transcript reporter put it this way:  “There was a review, held by
the officers as to the proper procedure that must be taken by a military body before being called
or going into action. It was pointed out that the Delaware State Guard is composed of men who
are under military law and supervision. The Guard is the reserve body of trained men which are
held in readiness for any incident that requires peace and order.  The Guard is subject to the
orders of the Governor of the State of Delaware and his authorized representatives the Adjutant
General or the Colonel.

When some community has disturbances within its boundary, and the local authorities run
into difficulties, the Mayor or the police must appeal to the State Police, the regular civilian
body, for assistance. In the event the State Police find they cannot handle the situation, they
may appeal to the governor or his military representatives for additional aid.  The State Guard is
then mobilized and ordered into action.

A local company , however, may be mobilized, and ready themselves with equipment without
waiting for the Governor or the military authorities to order them to stand by. A local Captain
or commissioned officer may, if he assumes responsibility, order his company into action in the
event of a grave emergency. Everything must be done according to orders and in a military
manner.”

The State Guard staff drew up plans for the protection of vital installations. Power plants,
utilities, and public supply facilities were to be prioritized and protected by the State Guard in
the event of an insurrection or invasion. “Operations Plan No.1” ordered that each company
was assigned a geographic area near its own base of operations, control posts were established
and plans were made to deploy in an emergency.  

Colonel Ruhlen, commanding officer of Sixth Military District, Delaware, provided an outline of
the installations and vital facilities in Delaware which troops at Fort DuPont and Fort Miles
would protect. The State Guard would be responsible for the balance of facilities including Army
airports vital bridges and highways, the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal as well as public
utilities.  The training syllabus included riot and crowd control techniques. Arrangements were
even made in the plan for Delaware Bus Company to transport guardsmen from one place to
another during an emergency.

The State Guard was employed in joint field exercises as well.  Company E of New Castle and a
detachment from Company D, Middletown served as “aggressors” posing as enemy
paratroopers in a Base Defense exercise at New Castle Army Air Base in July 1943.  The active
duty defenders successfully detected the invasion force and defended the base during the war
game. The game concluded with a luncheon on base, a tour of the facility and lectures on Army
planes and flying techniques.

The second annual field encampment was held at Fort DuPont from July 29 to August 6, 1944.
Almost 300 officers and men were in attendance. Over 100 were awarded gold service stripes for
perfect attendance during the previous year and 95 were given camp stripes for attendance at the
previous year’s camp.

At the end of the year a bill was introduced into the state legislature to pay the Delaware State
Guardsmen.  The proposal called for $1.00 for each drill attended and slightly more for the
annual summer encampment. It was noted that some members traveled as much as 25 miles
from their homes to attend drills. It was noted that Delaware was the only state in the East that
did not pay its State Guardsmen.

Test Mobilization

A test mobilization of the State Guard was conducted in April 1945.  Companies B, C, and D
were given short notice to turn out all available men at seven o’clock in the evening and to
deploy to the campus of Dover Wesleyan College where a simulated riot had broken out.  The
mission was to dispel the mob and restore order. The objectives were all met and the weary
soldiers returned to their homes in Milford, Middletown and Wilmington by noon the following
day.

Occasionally the State Guard was employed for a local emergency.  On June 10th, 1945 an Army
Air Force plane crashed near Newark and the State Guard guarded the site of the crash until the
wreckage could be trucked away to New Castle Army Air Base.   

The last wartime field training camp in 1945 was changed to the Bethany Beach Training Site.  
The camp was named in honor of Governor Walter W. Bacon, who was Delaware’s “war
governor”.  A convoy of 25 trucks moved cots, mattresses, and bedding from the State Armory
in Wilmington to the Bethany beach site.  A further 25 army vehicles and some fifty automobiles
were used to convoy the various state units to the campsite.  The State Guard encampment was
held from August 6-12. Some 450 officers and men engaged in field training and riot control
drills. The Governor’s rifle matches and officer’s pistol matches were conducted.  

“Governor’s Day” was the highlight of the camp as Governor Bacon awarded some 80 medals to
the winners of the competition.  A regimental flag sewn by Mrs. Leroy Work, wife of Major
Work formerly of the 198th Regiment was presented to the Guard by the Chamber of Commerce.
Major General John F. Williams, Chief of the National Guard Bureau was in attendance, as well
as Colonel John F. Harris, in charge of prisoner of war camps in Delaware. A reception during
the evening of Governors’ Day was attended by the governor and his aides, Col. George J.
Schulz, Lt. Col. Caleb Boggs, Lt. Col. Thomas S. Lodge, General Rinard and other state officials.

Raymond Deputy, a former State Guardsman relates, “During the 1945 camp we had German
Prisoners of War held at Bethany, mostly veterans of the Afrika Corps.  We made daily runs to
Fort Miles to pick up supplies, and took prisoners to do the heavy lifting. I was assigned to
guard the Germans.  I was 14 years old at the time, and made corporal at 15 yrs old. I carried a
single shot twelve-gauge shotgun, single barrel.  The Germans asked me if I would really use
that thing, (I had only one cartridge) and I replied, they better not try me. The German POW's
called me "Super Nazi" because of my youth.

The Fort was high security and we were not allowed to go anyplace but the PX and the
Commissary, and the base movie. We were not allowed near the bunkers or the dock; you could
see the mines on the dock but you couldn't get near the place.  My brother Marty was also
there.” The Guard was often a family affair; Raymond and Martin Deputy were the sons of
Major Walter M. Deputy, Second Battalion Commander. Their sister, Marian Deputy attended
camp as well, (unofficially) serving as clerk typist, earning spending money by sewing stripes
and badges on uniforms.

A typical day

The duty day began with reveille at 6 AM on weekdays, and 7 AM on Sundays.  The training
schedule begins at 8 AM with retreat at 5:20 PM and taps at 11 PM.  Sunday services were held
at 9 AM. Generally speaking, the training day concluded by 2:30 PM unless they were on a
work detail, allowing the men time to enjoy the seashore attractions. The troops were
entertained by bowling for duck pins at a local bowling alley, Saturday movies, and ogling the
girls on the beach, or on the modest boardwalk in the quiet resort town. They were treated well
by the local citizenry, and made the occasional jaunt down to Ocean City to visit the one-armed
bandits at the “Gold Coin” and the “Sandbar”.

The food at camp was cooked by German POWs and was described by Ken Brown as
“adequate”.  He was intrigued upon encountering for the first time a German “pepper pot” as
part of the menu.  This was a concoction prepared by the Germans from leftovers, mostly
cabbage and vinegar. The soldiers slept either in barracks or in squad tents erected on concrete
pads.

Brown also recalled that Great Britain sent tons of mutton to the United States in partial
payment for Lend Lease.  The Army passed it along to the National Guard and Reserve units.  
“We had a consolidated mess (BN) in 1945, and one cook supposedly knew how to prepare
mutton. But no matter how he prepared it, it was God awful terrible to eat.  A 32 gallon
garbage can located outside the mess hall was filled up after the troops left the noon meal of
mutton.  Those of us who had transportation would drive to Warren’s Restaurant for lunch on
that day. “

Post war

Victory over the Japanese later in the month did not end the State Guard as an entity.  Colonel
Heinel said that “recruiting will continue regardless of the end of the war until the organization’
s status as home troops is changed.” He disclosed that a number of returning servicemen are
entering the regiment after gaining their discharges.  Heinel added, “Guard troops are the only
ones in the United States now, for internal security, that will not go through a period of
demobilization and reorganization until it has been accomplished by federal troops to a
permanent peacetime basis.  That may be a period of a year or more.”  His prediction was to
prove prescient as the State Guard soldiered on for 16 more months before being relieved by the
Delaware National Guard.

The returning veterans who joined the State Guard were authorized to wear their divisional
unit patch on their right sleeve.  The State Guard blue and gold diamond insignia bearing the
words “Delaware State Guard” is worn on the left shoulder.

The end of the war brought additional equipment to the State Guard.  They received eight jeeps
and one ambulance from Fort Dix New Jersey in August of 1945. The ambulance was assigned
to the Medical detachment and two jeeps were assigned to each of the Battalions commanders
with one jeep destined for each of the Company commanders. Additionally, in June 1946, the
State Guard received its own waveband from the FCC in order to provide radio communication
among all the units in the state, useful for convoying en route as well as field exercises.
Previously the State Guard had been forced to rely upon borrowed State Police radios for
maneuvers and for radio cars.

The first and last postwar encampment was once again held at Bethany Beach in 1946 and
named Camp Rechek after Colonel John Rechek who had been an early and ardent supporter of
the State Guard as part of the Second Service Command, U.S. Army, responsible for State Guard
activities.  He helped to organize the organization and followed it with great interest through
its entire existence.  The camp was held August 3-11, 1946. Various units were awarded the
Delaware Blue Fighting Cock for efficiency.

With the re-activation of the Delaware National Guard the Delaware State Guard was
inactivated after five years of service.  A public ceremony was held at the Wilmington Armory at
10th and DuPont streets on January 3, 1947.  The program included a regimental formation and
review of the troops by Governor Bacon. Colonel Heinel was presented a silver tray by the
officers and men of the Regiment. He also received the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross
presented by Adjutant General Paul R. Rinard. The regimental colors were furled and retired
and the deactivation order was read.  In part, it said:

The record of achievement by the Delaware State Guard has been one that will be forever a
standard for the military organizations of the State to emulate. The services have been voluntary
and unpaid, the sacrifices in time and energy beyond calculation, and at all times this
organization was ready, willing, and able to perform had the need arisen. The people of the
State of Delaware recognize these facts and gratefully acknowledge them. To the officers and
men who have so ably and honorably upheld the rich traditions of the citizen-soldiery of the
State go the thanks of the State.”

Governor Bacon added in his remarks, “It is too bad that the Guard must disband. I am sure the
bonds of friendship developed in the guard will in time result in a civilian organization that will
ever remind us of the important part the Delaware State Guard has played”

Many (perhaps most) State Guardsmen who were able, soon joined the Delaware National
Guard and continued their service to their state and country. The Delaware State Guard, in
truth, never did much in the way of fighting a battle or calming an uneasy mob because it
simply never became necessary to do so.  What it did accomplish was to make a lot of otherwise
ineligible men feel a part of the nation’s war effort and to make a contribution simply by being a
force in presence, deterring the remote possibility.  The State Guard was a place holder until the
Delaware National Guard could return from the war and re-organize itself.  This too was a
valuable service to the state in terms of maintaining property, equipment and above all the esprit
de corps of the Delaware home front.

The state guards declined again after the conclusion of World War II.  Operative parts of the
1940 enabling legislation were rescinded, and the National Security Act of 1947 ignored the state
guards entirely.

Indeed, a 1948 Defense Department board even suggested doing away with the National Guard
as a Federal Reserve force and instead melding it into the Organized Reserve. This trend held
until the advent of the Korean War. During the 1950s, the National Guard Bureau directed that
states temporarily maintain cadres of military personnel to assist with planning. Federal
legislation for the creation of state defense forces was enacted by the 84th Congress in Public
Law 364 of 1955 and in the State Defense Forces Act of the United States of 1958.

Delaware no longer maintains a State Guard.  Some 23 states maintain a State Guard or a State
Defense Force including neighboring Maryland and New Jersey.  In the aftermath of 9/11 in
2001, the need for homeland defense forces gained renewed debate and discussion.  Efforts to
revive this force in Delaware have not generated enough interest to be successful, however.


Appendix A

Delaware State Guard Regimental Staff (as of August 6, 1945)

Colonel J. Paul Heinel, commanding officer of the Delaware State Guard
Lieutenant Colonel Victor Clark, executive officer
Major Ralph E. Buckalew, plans and training, adjutant and public relations officer
Major Raymond Lynch, commanding officer, Medical Detachment
Captain James Dewey Quillen, ordnance and transportation officer
Captain Frank S. Carrow, summary court officer, intelligence
Captain Leroy W. Lowe, (later Major) quartermaster and regimental supply officer
Captain William D. Munds, Chaplain
Captain C. Layton Allen, assistant adjutant and gas officer
Captain John C. Cole, assistant plans and training officer
Captain J. Norris Robinson, band leader (Age 80 in 1946)
Warrant Officer John A. Mearns, band director


The First Battalion was commanded by Major Joseph Holland Prettyman with Lieutenant
William W. Noling as adjutant.  It consisted of:

Company B of Dover, commanded by Captain Cedric E. Cooper, assisted by Lieutenant Nelson
S. Everheart.

Company C of Milford, commanded by Captain J.H. Roosa assisted by Lieutenants William D.
Kimmel, and Leslie C. Greenly.

Company D of Middletown commanded by Captain (later Major) Walden Pell II, (Headmaster
St. Andrews School) and assisted by Lieutenants Robert C. Heller, Lewis Mandes and William
Moore.

Second Battalion was commanded by Major Walter M. Deputy with Lieutenant Thomas C.
Sullivan as adjutant. It consisted of:

Company A of Wilmington, commanded by Captain Jonathan G. Wells Jr., assisted by
Lieutenants Michael F. Amalfitano and A.P. Downing.

Company E of New Castle, commanded by Captain Thomas Herlihy, (Mayor of Wilmington)
assisted by Lieutenants Relio DeBoto, and Thomas L. Carpenter Jr.

Company F of Wilmington, commanded by Captain William R. Wilson assisted by Lieutenants
Francis J. Reese, and Grant R. Weldin.

Company G of Newark, commanded by Captain William E. Donnell assisted by Lieutenants
Johnson Reeves, and William A. Greenwell.

Other officers who served with the State Guard included:
Major James Warner Bellah
Major Jerome D. Niles, M.D.
Major Everett Reynolds
Captain George A. Billingsley
Captain William O. Gears, Co. A
Captain H.H. Hanson
Captain William A. Leach
Captain Lawrence C. Lapetina
Lieutenant James E. Manlove
Lieutenant Carmen Palmiotti
Lieutenant William W. Bolen
Lieutenant Harry L. Maier Jr.
Lieutenant Fred D. Taylor
Lieutenant Earl P. Schubert
Lieutenant William D. Moore
Lieutenant John L. Stidham
Lieutenant Harry E. Best, Co. B
Lieutenant Wallace McKnitt
Lieutenant John L. Tarburton Co. B
Lieutenant Rae A. Kneeshaw
Lieutenant Benjamin F. Simons Co. B
Franklin F. Palmer Jr., PR Officer Co. B



End Notes/Bibliography

The most comprehensive account of the Delaware State Guard is “Delaware’s
Role in World War II” in two volumes by William H. Conner and Leon deValinger Jr. published
by the Public archives Commission State of Delaware, Dover DE 1955. The account therein of
the Delaware State Guard was provided by Colonel J. Paul Heinel , regimental commander. A
very significant portion of the history related above was from this book.

An excellent short history of the State Guard in states across the nation is, “America’s State
Defense Forces: An Historical Component of National Defense, by Dr. Kent G. Sieg, State
Defense Force Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, Fall 2005

An early account of the progress of the nascent organization can be found at “State Guard Is
Becoming Well Disciplined Infantry Unit; Strength to be Increased to 600” Wilmington DE
Journal Every Evening. August 24, 1942

This short history is also based on interviews with former State Guardsmen Kenneth (K.P.)
Brown and Raymond E. Deputy on July 22, 2010, and Marian Childs on August 1, 2010.

LTG William Duncan (DE ARNG Ret) has assembled two thick folders (totaling some 170 pages)
of copies of newspaper clippings about the State Guard, mostly from the files of the Middletown
Transcript during the war years.  The folder also includes a copy of “the Delaware State Guard
News” newsletter, Vol. 1, No.5. Sept 1946. This folder is part of the archival holdings of the
Delaware Military Heritage and Education Foundation
The Delaware Legislation establishing the State Guard is TITLE 20, Military and Civil Defense,
Military, CHAPTER 3. STATE DEFENSE FORCES § 301. Establishment and composition.  Can
be found at: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title20/c003/index.shtml#TopOfPage
“The State Guard Experience and Homeland Defense”
Prepared, submitted and approved as a United States Army War College research paper on 9
May 2003. by Colonel Andre N. Coulombe (USAR). Can be found at:
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA499045&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

The Delaware State Archives lists the following records for the State Guard:

RG 1800.77 State Guard Scrapbook:  This scrapbook contains a handful of photographs,
annotated with notes and captions, a great many newspaper clippings, and ephemera such as
dance cards, and tickets to the 1941 New Year’s Dance.

RG 1800 State Guard Enlistment Records, 1941-1945 CONFIDENTIAL
RG 1325.54 WWII newspaper clippings, 1940-1947
RG 1800.007: A motion picture entitled, “State Guard Review”.
General Reference #697 National Guard
Bar Codes 151103, 151109, 151122, 151132, 151133
RG 9200.M12 Meister papers, Fort Miles
Delaware Military History