1747 - Overcoming the long pacifist tradition of Pennsylvania's founding Quakers, Benjamin Franklin leads some 600 "gentlemen and merchants" of Philadelphia in signing "articles of association" to provide for a common defense against Indian raiders and French privateers. These "Associators" (today's 111th Infantry and 103rd Engineers) are recognized as the foundation of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Within months, the Philadelphia Associators have brother units throughout the populated Commonwealth.
1755 - The Pennsylvania Assembly passes the first Militia Act, formally authorizing a volunteer militia.
1775 - The First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry escorts General George Washington to New York to take command of the Continental Army. The Army's first units include a regiment of rifle companies from Pennsylvania -- among them, the predecessor of a current National Guard unit in York.
1776-1783 - With the start of the Revolutionary War, Pennsylvania supplies 6,000 troops (4,500 of them Associators) for military operations in New York. One unit, the Philadelphia Artillery Battalion, lives on as today's 103rd Engineer Battalion. In all, tens of thousands of Pennsylvania soldiers are called to service over the next seven years.
1793 - Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Mifflin establishes the Adjutant General's Office to provide for "a new system for the regulation of the militia."
1794 - Pennsylvania contributes 4,000 militiamen to a four-state force which quells the Whiskey Rebellion in the western part of the state -- a crucial test of the new federal authority.
1812-1814 - The War of 1812 draws 14,000 Pennsylvanians into active service. In the battle for Lake Erie, an artillery company provides volunteers to serve as cannoneers on Commodore Perry's fleet. That unit is known today as Wilkes-Barre's 109th Field Artillery.
1846-1848 - Two regiments of volunteer militiamen from Pennsylvania play a key role in winning victory in the Mexican-American War.
1861-1865 - At the start of the Civil War, five units from the Lehigh Valley race to the nation's threatened capital, in response to an urgent plea from Congress. President Lincoln proclaims them the "First Defenders" -- an honor still borne by their descendants in today's 213th Area Support Group. More than 200 Pennsylvania regiments take part in the war, in 24 major campaigns.
1870 - The name "militia" is dropped, becoming by law the "National Guard of Pennsylvania."
1877 - Thousands of Guardsmen are called up to restore order in the face of a violent statewide railroad strike. Rioting is worst in Pittsburgh, where five Guardsmen and 20 civilians are killed.
1879 - The Pennsylvania National Guard is organized into a single division. That event makes Pennsylvania’s division (now designated the 28th Division) the oldest in the U.S. Army. A keystone is prescribed as its distinctive badge.
1898 - The entire Pennsylvania division is mustered into federal service for the Spanish-American War. Units see action in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
1916-1917 - With Mexico in the throws of revolution, Pennsylvania's division (then known as the 7th) is mobilized to join in punitive operations along the Mexican border.
1917-1918 - Redesignated the 28th, the Pennsylvania division is called up in the wake of America's entry into World War I. The division takes part in six major campaigns in France and Belgium, suffering more than 14,000 battle casualties. Its ferocity in combat earns it the title "Iron Division" from General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force.
1924 - The 103rd Observation Squadron -- forerunner of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard -- is organized at Philadelphia Airport.
1941-1945 - Ten months before Pearl Harbor, the 28th Division is ordered into federal service. After America enters World War II, the division trains extensively, here and in England and Wales. Landing in France after D-Day, the division fights through Normandy, helps liberate Paris, and ends up bitterly engaged along the "West Wall" of Germany in November 1944. One month later, during the Battle of the Bulge, the division is instrumental in stalling the last German offensive of the war. Its exploits earn it the nickname "Bloody Bucket" division -- but 2,000 of its soldiers pay for that honor with their lives.
Elsewhere in the war, the division's 111th Regiment is detached to serve in the Pacific; Pennsylvania's 213th Regiment sees action in North Africa and Italy; and other units serve throughout the globe.
1947 - The Pennsylvania Air National Guard is formally established.
1950-1952 - The 28th Division is mobilized to reinforce NATO in Germany. Several Pennsylvania units see active service in Korea.
1966-1967 - Pennsylvania Air National Guard airlift units fly 134 supply missions to Vietnam -- becoming the first reserve air force ever to enter a combat zone without actually being mobilized.
1972 - Widespread flooding in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agnes results in 45 deaths and $3 billion in property damage. Nearly 13,000 Army and Air Guard members are called to state active duty to help with relief operations.
1983 - The Air Guard's 193rd Special Operations Group provides airborne broadcasting and surveillance during the U.S. invasion of Grenada. Later missions in Panama, Haiti and elsewhere have won the 193rd the distinction of being the most-deployed unit in the entire Air Force.
1990-1991 - Eight Army and Air Guard units from Pennsylvania are mobilized for duty in Southwest Asia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Every member returns home safely.
1993 - The Pennsylvania National Guard launches a military partnership with the government of Lithuania, as part of a U.S. initiative to promote the growth of democratic institutions among the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
1996 - Pennsylvania Guard members open roads, transport doctors and patients, and mount heroic helicopter rescue operations during statewide flooding and blizzards.
1996-2001 - Hundreds of Pennsylvania soldiers and airmen deploy to Germany, Hungary and Bosnia during this period in support of United Nations peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia.
2001 - Forty two soldiers from a Battery F (Target Acquisition), 109th Field Artillery, of York, an element of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), participates in a seven-month peacekeeping assignment in Kosovo.
9/11/2001 - For the first time in Guard history, both state and federal chain of commands are activated in response to the terrorists’ attacks.
2002-2003 – Approximately 1,100 28th Infantry Division soldiers become the command element of NATO peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.
2003-2004 – 28th Infantry Division units become the first Guard command element for peacekeeping operations in eastern Kosovo. The 213th Area Support Group, Co. G, 104th Aviation and several smaller support units deploy in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
2004 – Some 2,000 Pennsylvania citizen soldiers and airmen are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, searching for weapons of mass destruction, providing convoy security, rebuilding infrastructure and protecting senior officials.
2005 – Some 750 citizen soldiers with Task Force Dragoon helped to protect 29 polling places during Iraq’s first free election. Task Force Dragoon units returned home in November. An additional 2,100 soldiers from the 28th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, augmented by 2,000 soldiers from 30 other states, touched down in Iraq in June. Known as the "Iron Brigade," soldiers are conducting convoy escorts, patrols and training for Iraqi civil defense forces.
Twenty-five hundred Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard members are deployed in September for a month-long mission in support of hurricane disaster relief efforts along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is the largest state activation of Pennsylvania National Guard troops since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. These Guard members also assisted with relief efforts following Hurricane Rita.
2006 – The 56th Brigade officially became the first National Guard Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT).
2008 - 2009 - The Stryker Brigade Combat Team trains and deploys to Iraq, making it the largest PA National Guard deployment to a combat zone since World War II.
The Pennsylvania National Guard Today
Some 20,000 men and women make up the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard today. They reach from Joint Headquarters at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, to some 90 communities across the commonwealth.
Like all Guard members, they share a dual responsibility: For their federal mission, they are trained and equipped to join the active military forces in time of war or national emergency. For their state mission, they respond to the orders of the governor, protecting lives and property during natural and man-made disasters.
Their civil role, however, extends far beyond the traditional blizzard, flood and riot duty. Each day finds Pennsylvania National Guard members actively involved in working to clean up the environment, fighting to eradicate the illicit flow of drugs and serving as role models for generations to come.
The following links are from our old website containing various pieces of information of the 28th Infantry Division's participation in World War II. For more informative reading materials visit our Web Store and follow the Books link.
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