On December 13, 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts. Based upon an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court, the colony’s militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony. Today, the descendants of these first regiments the181st Infantry , the 182nd Infantry , the 101st Field Artillery , and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military. This marks the beginning of the organized militia, and the birth of the National Guard’s oldest organized units is symbolic of the founding of all the state, territory, and District of Columbia militias that collectively make up today’s National Guard. The first use of the term “National Guard” by American militia units dates from Lafayette’s 1824–1825 tour of the United States. The 2nd Battalion of the 11th New York Artillery – which later became New York’s famed 7th Regiment – was one the units that welcomed Lafayette to New York City, and it adopted the title “National Guard” in honor of Lafayette’s service as commander of the Garde Nationale de Paris during the French Revolution. During a review of militia units Lafayette took note of the term, and as it grew in popularity it was adopted by many militia units in the years that followed.


The history of the Michigan National Guard is one of long and honorable service that predates the state itself. As one of Michigan’s first settlements, Detroit is looked upon as the birthplace of the early Michigan Militia. The first indication of an effort to organize a militia is the reference in the Cadillac Papers of a proposal made by Sr. de LaMothe. His proposal, dated November 13, 1708, called for forming four companies to act as a militia for the colony. The first Regiment of Michigan Militia, the Detroit City Guards, and a company of mounted volunteers (dragoons) made up the earliest Michigan units and were barracked in Detroit. To this day, the Michigan Army National Guard Armory on 8 Mile Road in Detroit is called the “Light Guard” armory in honor of its history.

On June 30, 1805, the act organizing the Territory of Michigan took effect, with General William Hull as the first Governor.

The Michigan Militia, then later, the Michigan National Guard, has participated in every major US and state campaigns. Some of the more notable are:

  • The war of 1812
  • The Black Hawk War
  • The Toledo War
  • The Patriot War
  • War with Mexico
  • Civil War
  • Spanish American War
  • The Copper Strikes
  • Mexican Border Duty
  • World War I
  • Labor Troubles in Flint
  • World War II
  • The Korean War
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1961)
  • Macomb County and Hillsdale tornado (1964)
  • Benton Harbor Riots (1966)
  • Detroit Riots (1967)
  • Dr. King Assassination (1968)
  • Vietnam
  • Grand, Flint, and Red Cedar Floods (1975)
  • Seney Forest Fire (1976)
  • Southern Michigan Snow Storm (1977)
  • Tornado in Kalamazoo (1980)
  • Persian Gulf
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Pretty Lake Fires

Michigan Army National Guard Soldiers protect Detroit Firefighters during the 1967 Detroit Riots.


119th Field Artillery in World War I: Formed for World War I, the 119th Field Artillery performed admirably.

107th Engineer Battalion History: 18811980 Tracing it’s official lineage to 1881, today’s 107th Engineer Battalion has an illustrious history.

32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Division in WWII Michigan and Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers were the first U.S. troops to see combat during World War II. Units of the 32nd hold the record for most days in continuous contact with the enemy during the war.

1279th Combat Engineers Michigan’s only all African American unit set a record during the Korean War that still stands today.


Loyalty– Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers

Duty– Fulfill your obligations

Respect– Treat people as they should be treated

Selfless Service– Put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own

Honor– Live up to all the Army Values

Integrity– Do what’s right, legally and morally

Personal Courage– Face fear, danger or adversity (physical and moral)

Warrior Ethos

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

Soldier’s Creed

I am an American Soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team.

I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.

Michigan National Guard Soldiers camped out in Calumet during the 1913 Copper Miner Strike.


The Dual Mission of the National Guard: Serving the State and the Nation

The National Guard is unique in the fact we are the only branch of the U.S. Military that has a dual mission: Serve as a reserve component of the Army, and serve the state to respond during state of emergencies as declared by the governor.

Unlike the Army reserve, where there is one component with the President as the Commander in Chief, there are actually 54 National Guards within the U.S.: One for each state and 4 territories (District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.Virgin Islands). The Michigan Army National Guard is indigenous to the state of Michigan and our Commander in Chief is the Governor of the State of Michigan. The governor activates the Michigan Army National Guard in order to protect the lives and property of Michigan citizens during state emergencies such as winter storms, tornados, or civil disturbances.

The President of the United States can request the individual state’s National Guard in times of national emergencies. In fact, several Michigan National Guard Soldiers were deployed to New Orleans, LA in order to help victims of hurricane Katrina.

Notwithstanding our mission to Michigan, we act as an important role in our Nation’s defense. In fact, the National Guard as a whole contains over 50% of the U.S. Army’s combat power. The National Guard has been deployed to every major conflict in U.S. history. Michigan National Guard Soldiers have deployed and continue to proudly serve our country as defenders of liberty.

detroit light guard armory

The Detroit Light Guard Armory is a historic building in Detroit, Michigan. It was designed by the firm Malcomson & Higginbotham and opened in 1897. It was originally used as an infantry unit, but was converted to a logistics unit in 1992 and is now the home of the 1225th Support Battalion of the Michigan Army National Guard. The armory is known for its iconic carved tiger’s head, which is displayed on an exterior stone wall. The Light Guard Armory was also the site of a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert in 1905-1906

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The Detroit Light Guard Armory is an invaluable asset to the city of Detroit. Located in downtown Detroit, this historic building has been a part of the city’s landscape since 1891 and serves as a vital reminder of our country’s military history. The armory offers more than just historical significance; it also provides numerous benefits to the local community that should not be overlooked.

First and foremost, preserving this important landmark helps maintain the unique character and identity that makes up our beloved city. By keeping its doors open for events such as weddings, graduations, concerts, fundraisers and other public gatherings we can ensure that future generations will continue to appreciate its importance in shaping who we are today. Additionally these activities bring people together from all walks of life creating positive social interactions while simultaneously providing economic opportunities through tourism dollars spent at nearby businesses like restaurants or hotels which further boosts our economy overall .

Finally investing resources into restoring this grand structure not only honors those who have served but also preserves their legacy for years to come by ensuring it remains accessible for everyone regardless if they live here or visit from out-of-towners alike! Furthermore renovating parts such as replacing outdated plumbing systems with modern ones would help reduce energy costs thus allowing us save money too! It’s clear there is no better way honor veterans then by protecting what was once theirs – so let’s keep fighting protect one another along with preserving iconic buildings like TheDetroit Light Guard Armory!

Dowagiac Armory

The Dowagiac Armory is a facility operated by the Michigan Army National Guard, located in Dowagiac, Michigan. The armory provides training and recruitment services for members of the National Guard, and also hosts events such as the Food Truck Muster, which provides meals to those in need. The armory also offers discounts on range fees and firearms transfers, and has recently hosted a fireworks display.

The Dowagiac Armory is an important part of the community, and its presence should be celebrated. With a rich history dating back to World War I, this armory has served as a vital resource for both military personnel and local citizens alike. Not only does it provide much-needed employment opportunities to area residents, but it also serves as an educational center where people can learn about our nation’s proud military heritage. Furthermore, the armory provides essential services such as housing assistance programs for veterans in need of help transitioning into civilian life after their service ends.

For these reasons alone, the Dowagiac Armory deserves recognition from all members of our community who benefit from its presence here in town. By supporting this institution with donations or volunteer efforts we can ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy all that it offers us today – including access to resources like job training programs and recreational activities like shooting ranges or paintball fields on site at the facility itself!

In conclusion, investing time and money into preserving such a valued asset within our city limits is something every member of our community should strive towards achieving together; not only would doing so honor those who have served before us but also enable current service members access necessary resources they may need upon returning home from deployment abroad! The importance of having places like these available cannot be understated – let’s make sure we keep them around by showing support now while they still exist!