Home | About | Donate

How the National Guard Became the Go-to Military Force for Riots and Civil Disturbances

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/02/19/how-national-guard-became-go-military-force-riots-and-civil-disturbances

She didn’t mention an important aspect of the National Guard: they did not used to be deployed outside the US. For that reason the Guard was a refuge for guys (only guys back then, and only guys were draftable) who wanted to avoid being drafted to Vietnam. Where they would face highly skilled, well armed and highly motivated opponents. John Bolton, he admitted it, and W. Bush were examples of that along with the son of hawkish Senator Tower of Texas, who thought the Vietnam War was a great idea, and many others.

Now they can be sent anywhere which is beyond what their role should be. They can be very useful in natural disasters.

Anti war Vietnam vets then looked down on them as cowards when they were sent against anti war demonstrators, Kent State, Ohio State and other big schools for example.


Viet Nam had draftees in the army, marines and navy too. These men were chosen by their local draft boards. Rich kids from pill hill, gated communites, etc. were NOT drafted.
After Viet Nam, the U.S. Army and National Guard were re-configured so that americano citizens would know that we were in a real war, somewhere in the world. Of course this intention has not worked. Nobody in USA pays much attention to our army depolyments, battles, casualties, VA, etc.

The U.S. Army depends on various skill units of national guard to be called up and assigned as fill out companies for regular army brigades going to Iraq, for example. The NG units may be engineers, Judge Advocate (lawyers), dental, medical, political (governance).

In January 1951, there was a general call up for Korean War. Our local draft board actually drafted guys who were WW2 veterans with sufficient points. The men were now married with children, owned homes. The economic stress for their household was immense.

In March 1968, 88 army veterans in my Ohio county were drafted a SECOND time. They processed for physicals, IQ and psych tests in April. Reported to active duty during the summer. 86 went to Viet Nam by November and assigned to different army companies. They had training needed badly.

Today, NG and air NG provide college scholarships to gain competent soldiers, mechanics, etc.

1 Like

My dad who served in the Navy in WWII was drafted into the Air Force National Guard in 1951 and deployed 1500 miles away near the Canadian border shortly before I was born. After enduring scarlet fever and chicken pox (often fatal for adults) he survived and returned home a year after I was born.

1 Like