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.
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 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.
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.
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. “
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.
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
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