|District of Columbia National Guard|
|Active||As militia: 1776–1903|
As reserve: 1903–present
|Allegiance||District of Columbia|
|Branch|| United States Army|
United States Air Force
|Role||State militia, reserve force|
|Commander-in-Chief||The President of the United States|
|Secretary of Defense||Lloyd Austin|
|Commanding General||Maj Gen Sherrie L. McCandless, USAF (acting)|
The District of Columbia National Guard is the branch of the United States National Guard based in the District of Columbia. It comprises both the D.C. Army National Guard and the D.C. Air National Guard components.
The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief for the District of Columbia National Guard. Command is exercised through the secretary of defense and the commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ), District of Columbia National Guard. The Secretary of Defense has delegated his command authority to the secretary of the Army for the District of Columbia Army National Guard and the secretary of the Air Force for the District of Columbia Air National Guard. The District of Columbia National Guard is commanded by a major general with a brigadier general as his or her adjutant general. The mayor of the District of Columbia, the United States marshal for the District of Columbia, or the National Capital Service director may request the commander-in-chief to aid them in suppressing insurrection and enforcement of the law; however, there is no chain of authority from the District of Columbia to the D.C. National Guard.
The Residence Act of 1790 established that the country would create a new capital city rather than selecting an existing city. In 1801, The Organic Act designed District of Columbia as the capital of the United States and put its governance under the control of Congress. Which militia would protect a city without a governor under the control of Congress?
The D.C. National Guard came about in part due to the efforts of President Thomas Jefferson, the first president to spend his term in District of Columbia. He came into office during a time when strife between two major political parties were threatening to divide a newly developed country. The commanding generals of the two closest militia units were members of President Jefferson's rival political party. At this point, there was only a very small regular army, and they were mostly patrolling the border. If a state's militia tried to force political will, there would be no way to keep them from marching on the Capitol and coercing, or overthrowing the government.
President Jefferson saw the vulnerability of America's democracy would be threatened if the will of a military general could keep the legislative body from enacting the will of the people. To prevent this, the Militia of the District of Columbia was created in the Assumption Act of May 3, 1802.
Due to the fact that the District of Columbia is not a state, the D.C. National Guard is the only local National Guard with a national mission to protect the Federal Government – a mission reflected in its motto "Capital Guardians."
On October 30, 1802, the D.C. Militia held its first muster. President Jefferson hand-selected his new officers and was known to enjoy attending drills. A year later, the Congress officially recognized the organization.
The fledgling D.C. Militia was tested during the War of 1812 and the Battle of Bladensburg. Maryland and Virginia, preoccupied with attacks on their own territory, were sluggish to send troops to D.C. The D.C. Militia, even when augmented by regular forces, was overwhelmed and ordered to withdraw. They watched their nation's capital burn. After the incident, Congress too noticed and increased the size and equipment of the D.C. Militia.
Other than the Headquarters itself, which traces its lineage to 1776 as an elements of the Maryland Militia in Georgetown and Bladensburg, the oldest continuous unit of the D.C. National Guard is Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 372nd Military Police Battalion which traces its lineage to the Washington Light Infantry organized in 1836 by John A. Blake.
The war of 1812 would produce an American treasure and one of the most famous veterans of the D.C. National Guard, Francis Scott Key. Key was a lieutenant with the Georgetown Field Artillery of the D.C. Militia. During the British bombardment in Baltimore harbor, he was sent to Maryland to negotiate with the British for a prisoner exchange. After negotiations, the ship's commander felt Key had seen too much and needed to stay on the ship through the rest of the attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry. The following morning, Key observed the flag still flying above the Fort and was inspired to write the poem that became the lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner— the national anthem of the United States.
The D.C. National Guard has played a pivotal role in presidential Inaugurations, a tradition starting in the earliest days of the nation. The D.C. Militia or National Guard has been at every presidential Inauguration beginning with an honor detail which rode with President Washington in recognition of his time as Virginia's militia commander.
The D.C. Guard's participation in inaugurations may be that old, but certainly takes form in 1860. The election of Abraham Lincoln triggered several southern states to eventually secede from the Union. At Lincoln's first inaugural, Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, General-in-Chief of the Army, ordered the D.C. Militia to protect the president-elect from harm. The D.C. Militia guarded the parade routes, sappers preceded the president-elect, and D.C. Cavalry rode alongside of him, bucking their horses to make it difficult for snipers to take a shot. Upon arriving at the White House the new president received his first military salute from volunteer members of the D.C. Militia and an unbroken tradition of inaugural service was born.
When necessary, members of the D.C. National Guard may be deputized as special police, a role the active Army and Air Force cannot perform. That makes the National Guard an important element in large-scale events such as an inauguration. In 2009, the D.C. National Guard led a group of over ten thousand National Guard soldiers and airmen in support of the largest inauguration in history.
As war approached, the D.C. Militia was commanded by Major General Roger C. Weightman, one of six District of Columbia mayors to serve as D.C. Militia colonels or generals. His subordinates included Major General Force; brigadier generals Bacon and Carrington; and Brigadier General Robert Ould, who would move to Virginia and later join the Confederate States Army.
Maryland and Virginia were both slave states at the beginning of the war, surrounding District of Columbia with potential enemy territory. Three days before the shots at Fort Sumter, President Lincoln called in the D.C. Militia to protect the capital, making it famous for providing "the first man…first company…first regiment" mobilized for the American Civil War.
The D.C. Militia saw an unfortunate first when Private Manual C. Causten became the first Union prisoner of war captured by the Confederacy during the Civil War.
D.C. Militia soldiers served on active duty for up to four years, engaging in combat during the Battle of Manassas and the Valley Campaign. They also maintained their historical role as protectors of the Capital, manning the forts which encircled Washington, D.C. At Fort Stevens, in District of Columbia soldiers included African-American quartermaster clerks who were originally not allowed to join combat regiments. As D.C. faced attack from the Confederate States Army, they were issued weapons and told to defend their city. President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Fort Stevens to view the fighting. It is said that he was brusquely ordered from harm's way by an officer, possibly Horatio Wright, although other probably apocryphal stories claim that it was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., later Acting Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. It would be the only time in history that a serving president would face enemy fire.
The Butler Zouaves, named after Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, and the Stanton Guard, named after Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, were the first post-Civil War African-American units to organize. The Butler Zouaves survived the decline of the militia in the late 1870s and, in 1887, entered the then new National Guard of the District of Columbia as its Fifth Battalion. The first unit destined to become a permanent part of the D.C. Guard, however, was the Washington Cadet Corps, established June 12, 1880, as a single company ("Company A"), and expanded in October 1884 as a three-company battalion, reaching its full four-company strength in 1885.
From its earliest days, the D.C. National Guard has remained ready to accept the call to protect the United States, participating in the Creek War, Seminole Wars and Spanish–American War. In 1898, the D.C's 1st Volunteer Infantry fought alongside the United States Volunteers during the War, where they earned credit for the Santiago Campaign. The 1st DC Volunteer Infantry was commanded by George Herbert Harries, who left his position as commander of the DC National Guard and accepted reduction in rank to colonel so he could lead the regiment in Cuba. After the war Harries returned to command of the district National Guard as a brigadier general, and he attained promotion to major general before retiring in 1915.
The D.C National Guard served with border patrols on the Southwest border in 1916 during the Pancho Villa raids, a mission similar to the one they would return to in the 21st century in support of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In 1917, fearing espionage, D.C. National Guard elements were mobilized 12 days before the U.S. officially entered World War I to protect reservoirs and power plants around District of Columbia Military officials were concerned that too many of the D.C. units were made up of men with foreign roots, thus the job of protecting vital facilities fell to the all-black 1st Separate Infantry, the only unit the military believed could be trusted with this mission.
Eventually the 1st Separate was mustered into active service and re-designated the 1st Battalion of the 372nd Infantry. In France, unsure of what to do with an African-American regiment, the 372nd was attached to the French Army's 157th "Red Hand" Division. The soldiers fought in Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine and Alsace, where they were awarded the Croix de Guerre—one of the highest honors bestowed by the French military. Général Goybet, the 157th commanding general, gave the unit a Red Hand insignia in honor of their service. The red hand appears today on the crest of the 372nd Military Police Battalion. Although many D.C. National Guard units were mobilized, the 372nd was the only one to actually see combat during the war.
When the U.S. entered World War II, the D.C. National Guard was immediately mobilized. Ground units served in both the Pacific and European theaters and air units saw service along the Atlantic coast in anti-submarine defense. The D.C. National Guard's 121st Engineer Combat Battalion was among the units in the first wave on Omaha beach in Normandy on D-Day. This is portrayed in the 1962 film, The Longest Day.
In 1940, the 121st Observation Squadron was organized and began operations at Bolling Field (today Bolling Air Force Base) in District of Columbia It ended the war as the 121st Fighter Squadron. At the end of the war the U.S. Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Air Force) decided to preserve the history of its most famous fighter unit, the 352nd Fighter Group (know affectionately as the Bluenosed Bastards of Bodney), and allocated it to the D.C Air National Guard's 113th Wing. Since the 113th Wing includes the 121st, it carries the campaign credit from the Antisubmarine Campaign, the Po Valley Campaign, the North Apennines Campaign and the Rome-Arno Campaign.
At the end of World War II, the D.C. National Guard faced the enormous task of restructuring and retraining. The Cold War years marked a new relationship between the National Guard and active military. In 1947, the U.S. Air Force was designated a separate branch of the military; the D.C. Air National Guard became a reality in 1950, when the 113th Wing received federal recognition.
In 1951, the D.C. Army National Guard's 715th Truck Company became one of the few National Guard units mobilized for the Korean War to actually go to Korea. They called their orderly room in Korea the Blair House after the president's Guest House.
In 1961, the 113th Wing was activated for a year in support of the Berlin Crisis. In 1968, they were again activated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in response to the Pueblo Crisis. The bulk of the unit was assigned to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Later, many of these airmen deployed as individuals to Vietnam in support of the Vietnam War.
The District of Columbia National Guard played a crucial role in one of the largest gatherings for civil rights in U.S. history. On August 28, 1963, approximately 250,000 people were present at the March on Washington in the nation’s capital. D.C. guardsmen were positioned at national monuments around the city to help maintain the crowds during the March on Washington. During the event, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. D.C. guardsmen were able to maintain a peaceful demonstration and no incidents were reported by law enforcement. President John F. Kennedy submitted a compelling federal civil right bill to Congress following the historic march.
During the Vietnam War in the 1960s, most National Guard units were purposefully left out of the war over concern that a National Guard call-up would increase the unpopularity of the war. As part of the individual or "levied" replacement program, Air National Guard pilots were allowed to volunteer for deployment to Vietnam.
The 113th Wing established a Replacement Training Unit to send F-100C Super Sabre pilots to the conflict. On July 21, 1968, in South Vietnam, Lieutenant Colonel Sherman Flanagan, a D.C. Air Guardsman, crashed his F1-100 Super Sabre, while on his way to a mission and was killed. His body was never found. A researcher reported in 1973, that Flanagan may have been one of the first National Guardsman killed from Maryland, during this time period.
Continuous combat air patrols were maintained over Washington, D.C., and New York City until the spring of 2002. Today, the D.C. Air National Guard's 113th Aerospace Control Alert Detachment are on alert 24/7 protecting the skies of Washington, D.C.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a duty officer from the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard received a call from the U.S. Secret Service with instructions from the White House to scramble F-16s. The Pentagon had just been hit, and the White House knew another airliner, United Flight 93, had been hijacked. After a call with the White House operations center, the 113th Wing commander issued a scramble order to set up a combat air patrol over D.C. and to deter all aircraft within 20 miles with "whatever force is necessary… to keep from hitting a building downtown." As the F-16 crew returned due to fuel, the next crew went out. There was no time to arm them with missiles, so each fighter went out carrying only 500 training bullets—just enough for a five-second burst. At the time, they believed that there may have been more hostile aircraft. D.C. Air National Guard pilots were prepared to stop any hostile aircraft they encountered by any means necessary, up to and including ramming hijacked airliners. By this point, fighters from Langley Air Force Base and the fighters from the D.C. National Guard were put in contact with each other. Flight 93 was no longer a threat, but the two units worked together to escort aircraft out of the airspace.
Meanwhile, with more information that several people at the Pentagon were dead and several more injured, the D.C. Army National Guard helicopter pilots were launched from Davidson Army Air Field to the site of the attack on the Pentagon. They began ferrying casualties to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and medical personnel back to the Pentagon.
In the days after September 11, 600 soldiers from the D.C. Army National Guard were mobilized around the city, including the Capitol building. The Mobilization Augmentation Command reported to duty immediately, becoming the first National Guard unit mobilized for the Global War on Terror.
The D.C. National Guard has deployed more than 1,200 soldiers and airmen to support the Global War on Terrorism. The D.C. Guard completed over 90 whole-unit deployments, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Saudi Arabia and stateside missions as part of Operation Noble Eagle. Many D.C. National Guard soldiers and airmen served multiple deployments. Since September 11, 2001, the 113th Wing has provided 24-hour protective coverage over the skies of the United States's Capitals, as the "D.C. National Guard Capital Guardians."
The D.C National Guard served with border patrols on the Southwest border in 1916 during the Pancho Villa raids, a mission similar to the one they would return to in the 21st century in support of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
During the May/June 2020 protests that took place in Washington, D.C., concerning the killing of an African-American man, George Floyd, while in Minnesota Police custody, the DCNG served as the hub for 3,000 National Guard members. The DCNG managed over 3,000 Soldiers and Airmen from different states, including the 1,200 from the DCNG, in an effort to support the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), other civil authorities and first responders.
After activation of National Guard units across the U.S. around the end of May 2020, Guardsmen from the Mississippi and the Indiana Army National Guard's, arrive at the DCNG on June 1, along with several other National Guard units.
D.C. National Guard was activated on 6 January 2021 to assist federal law enforcement agencies after rioters supporting Donald Trump breached the Capitol Building during the joint session to certify the results of the 2020 United States presidential election. The full activation of the D.C. Guard was approved by the acting secretary of defense after consultation with Vice President Mike Pence and congressional leaders.[dubious ][better source needed]
Normally, U.S. federal law specifically charges the U.S. National Guard with dual federal and state missions. As Maryland gave the U.S. federal government jurisdiction in the District of Columbia to establish a federal district, there is no elected governor to command this guard unit. The D.C. National Guard is the only National Guard that reports only to the president.
Supervision and control of D.C. National Guard was delegated by the president to the defense secretary pursuant to Executive Order 10030, 26 January 1949 with authority to designate National Military Establishment officials to administer affairs of the D.C. National Guard. The Army secretary was directed to act in all matters pertaining to the ground component, and the Air Force secretary was directed to act in all matters pertaining to the air component.
The D.C. National Guard is the only U.S. military force empowered to carry out federal functions in a state or, in this case, a district. Those functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full scale law enforcement of martial law when local law enforcement officials can no longer maintain civil control. The National Guard may be called into federal service in response to a call by the president or Congress.
When the D.C. National Guard is called to federal service, the president serves as commander-in-chief. The federal mission assigned to the U.S. National Guard is "To provide properly trained and equipped units for prompt mobilization for war, National emergency or as otherwise needed."
The District of Columbia commanding general is the senior military officer and commander of the District of Columbia National Guard.
However, the Congressional Act of 1871 placed a governor at the head of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Militia, and from 1871 to 1887, there was no commanding general. in 1887, the position of governor was eliminated and a commissioner form of government was established with five appointed commissioners, and the position of commanding general returned.
As of today, there have been 23 commanding generals of the District of Columbia National Guard.
|Rank||Name||Appointment||Date of Relief|
|Brig. Gen.||John Mason||Jun. 28, 1802||1811|
|Maj. Gen.||John Peter Van Ness||1811||1814|
|Maj. Gen.||Walter Smith||1827||1829|
|Maj. Gen.||Walter Jones||1829||1847|
|Brig. Gen.||Roger C. Weightman||1847||1849|
|Maj. Gen.||Walter Jones||1849||1859|
|Brig. Gen.||Roger C. Weightman||1860||1871|
|Brig. Gen.||Albert Ordway||1887||1897|
|Maj. Gen.||George Herbert Harries||1897||1913|
|Brig. Gen.||William E. Harvey||Jun. 4, 1913||Aug. 17, 1917|
|Brig. Gen.||Richard D. Simms||Jan. 18, 1918||Mar. 31, 1920|
|Brig. Gen.||Anton Stephan||April 28, 1920||April 10, 1934|
|Col.||John W. Oehman (Acting)||1934||1938|
|Brig. Gen.||Albert Lyman Cox||1938||1949|
|Maj. Gen.||William H. Abendroth||1949||1967|
|Maj. Gen.||Charles L. Southward||1967||1974|
|Maj. Gen.||Cunningham C. Bryant||Aug. 4, 1974||Dec. 5, 1981|
|Maj. Gen.||Calvin G. Franklin||Dec. 8, 1981||Sept. 30, 1991|
|Maj. Gen.||Russell C. Davis||Dec. 1991||Dec. 1995|
|Maj. Gen.||Warren L. Freeman||Dec. 18, 1995||Dec. 31, 2002|
|Maj. Gen.||David F. Wherley Jr.||June 27, 2003||June 20, 2008|
|Maj. Gen.||Errol R. Schwartz||Jun. 27, 2008||Jan. 20, 2017|
|Maj. Gen.||William J. Walker||Jan. 20, 2017||Apr. 25, 2021|
|Maj. Gen.||Sherrie L. McCandless (Interim)||Apr. 25, 2021||Present|
Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, is an element of the District of Columbia National Guard. It usually is constituted as part of a larger local or Federal effort to prepare for or react to an emerging situation, including National Special Security Events.
It is tasked to support presidential inaugurations, State of the Union (SOTA) addresses, summits like the Nuclear Security Summit, protests, weather-related storms, the annual Washington, D.C., Fourth of July event, among others.
JTF-DC participates in all inter-agency planning and conducts planning with joint partners in the National Capital Region (NCR). Additionally, JTF-DC provides support, including traffic control, crowd management and security, for presidential inaugurations and related official ceremonies and events throughout the inaugural period, continuing the tradition of military participation in the presidential inauguration of the commander-in-chief dating back to the inauguration of George Washington in 1789.
The State Partnership Program (SPP) is a joint program of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the individual states, territories, and District of Columbia. Guard members work with partner militaries to strengthen shared defenses through building partner capacity activities. Typically, Guard Airmen and Soldiers spend the majority of their careers in the same wing or unit, enabling them to develop long-term relationships, trust, and continuity with their SPP partners. This small-footprint program delivers a significant return on investment by broadening the pool of foreign security partners who are willing and able to help maintain global security. Most of the earliest SPP partner countries in Europe have gone on to become U.S. allies in NATO, and many of them credit the SPP and their National Guard state partners with helping make that possible.
|Jamaica (Jamaica Defence Force) joined the SPP with the District of Columbia National Guard in 1999, with the first exchange-taking place in October 1999. The overarching purpose of the partnership is to enhance U.S. Southern Command’s ability to establish and maintain enduring military-to-military, military-to-security force and military-to-emergency response/disaster response agencies that improve long-term security cooperation relationships, while expanding partnership capacity. The partnership between the District of Columbia National Guard and Jamaica will entered its 20th year in 2019 and averages nearly 20 cooperative events each year. Major Baron K. Mason is the current District of Columbia Army National Guard Bilateral Affairs Officer for Jamaica.|
|On February 1, 2019, Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso Armed Forces) became the 76th nation to join the State Partnership Program. At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Defense in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard and Brigade General Moses Miningou, chief of general staff, Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, signed the historic partnership agreement. Together, they agreed to build a mutually rewarding relationship of cooperation, which will be founded on the preservation of mutual interests, to share their cultural diversity and strengthen their capabilities by integrating investment in human capital within the exchanges, and to embark upon a lasting relationship between the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso and the National Guard of the District of Columbia, in the best interests of security and development. Burkina Faso falls under U.S. Africa Command. Major Tibu T. Cheu is the current District of Columbia Army National Guard Bilateral Affairs Officer for Burkina Faso.|
The District of Columbia National Guard's joint Honor Guard members are full time professionals who are drawn from the ranks of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. They must meet the highest standards of military bearing, deportment, dress, and appearance to be eligible for participation in the DCNG Honor Guard program. In addition to rendering funeral honors, the DCNG Honor Guard program provides color teams for the District of Columbia, special events and ceremonies.
|Dorothy Height||Rosa Parks|
The D.C. National Guard Museum, also known as Brigadier General Wes Hamilton Museum, is a military museum of the District of Columbia National Guard. It is located at the District of Columbia National Guard headquarters at the D.C. Armory, adjacent to the Stadium-Armory Metro Stop near Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
The collection includes (inside) military artifacts and memorabilia including National Guard weapons, uniforms and diaries, and outside, static displays including an F-16 Fighting Falcon and a UH-1Y Venom Huey helicopter.
Below are a few military artifacts and memorabilia located inside the DCNG museum.
Awards and decorations of the D.C. National Guard are presented to members of the United States National Guard in addition to regular United States military decorations. The District of Columbia National Guard maintains a series of military decorations for issuance with such awards presented under the authority of the District of Columbia Commanding General.
District of Columbia National Guard Awards: