Kansas Army National Guard
The Kansas Army National Guard is a component of the Army National Guard and the Kansas National Guard. Kansas Army National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the United States Army. The same ranks and insignia are used and National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The Kansas Guard also bestows a number of state awards for local services rendered in or to the state of Kansas. It is, along with the Kansas Air National Guard, an element of the Kansas National Guard.
|Kansas Army National Guard|
|Active||August 30, 1855–present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Allegiance||State of Kansas|
|Type||ARNG Headquarters Command|
|Size||more than 5,200 authorized|
|Part of|| Kansas National Guard|
Army National Guard
|Garrison/HQ||City of Topeka and City of Salina|
|Commander||BG Anthony V. Mohatt|
|Chief of Staff||COL Matt Oleen|
The forerunner of the Kansas National Guard, the Kansas Territorial Militia, was formed on August 30, 1855. On January 29, 1861, six years after the formation of the territorial militia, Kansas became the 34th state and the state militia was organized into units of the Kansas National Guard. Article 8, Section 4 of the Kansas Constitution designates the Governor of Kansas as the commander in chief for state duties. The U.S. Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903, which organized the various state militias into the present National Guard system.
The Kansas Army National Guard has been involved in the nation’s conflicts since the state’s inception as a territory. The Kansas Guard actively participated in the Civil War, 1861–1865; the Indian Wars, 1864–1870; Spanish–American War, 1898–1899; and the Pancho Villa Expedition of 1916; and the First World War, 1917–1919.
The 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Kansas Volunteer Militia was organized from existing units in 1880. The regiment was mustered into federal service in June 1916 for duty guarding the Mexican Border against invasion. The regiment served for five months at Eagle Pass, Texas. In August 1917, the 2nd Infantry Regiment was drafted into federal service. The Kansas National Guard supplied troops to the 35th Infantry Division when it was organized in August 1917 as a formation with troops from Kansas and Missouri. The 2nd Infantry Regiment was consolidated with the 1st Infantry Regiment and re-designated the 137th Infantry Regiment, Kansas National Guard and assigned to the 35th Division. The regiment saw duty in France and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The 137th Infantry Regiment were demobilized in May 1919, after 34 months of active duty service. In November 1921, the 2nd Infantry Regiment was re-designated as the 161st Field Artillery Regiment and assigned to the 35th Division.
In 1918, Kansas Army National Guard Lieutenant Erwin R. Bleckley, who volunteered for aviation duty, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during an aerial sortie during World War I. He was the first National Guard aviator to earn the award and one of only three to earn it during the 20th century.
Units of the Kansas Army National Guard fought in World War II and the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, when the 130th Field Artillery Group headquarters, the 195th Field Artillery Battalion, and the 174th Military Police Battalion were mobilized.
In 1963, the 69th Infantry Brigade was activated as part of the Kansas Army National Guard. During the Vietnam War, the brigade, less the 3rd Battalion of the 137th Infantry, was ordered to active duty in May 1968. The brigade served at Fort Carson attached to the 5th Infantry Division until its demobilization in December 1969. The brigade was used to provide replacements for troops in Vietnam. 40 men of the brigade were killed in action, with hundreds being wounded.
In the mid 1980s, two new Army National Guard divisions were formed, drawing on existing independent brigades. The headquarters of the 35th Infantry Division was reformed by the Kansas Army National Guard. The 69th Infantry Brigade joined the new division, alongside brigades from Nebraska and Kentucky. In the late 1980s, aviation regiments were formed within the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard. The state maintained the 69th Infantry Brigade as part of the 35th Infantry Division from the 1980s to the 1990s or later.
Kansas Army National Guard personnel also saw service during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 1990–1991; Operations Northern and Southern Watch in Southwest Asia, 1992–2002; Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, 1992–1993; Operations Joint Endeavor, Deny Flight and Joint Guardian in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1995–2003; Operations Phoenix Scorpion, Phoenix Scorpion III and Desert Fox in Southwest Asia, 1997 and 1998; Operation Allied Force in Kosovo, 1999–present; Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle, 2001–present; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003–2011, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa 2010–2011.
The 635th Armor Regiment was constituted in the Air National Guard on March 25, 1953 as the 891st Engineer Aviation Battalion. On August 1, 1953 it was allotted to the Kansas National Guard. It was reorganized and federally recognized January 13, 1954 with headquarters at Manhattan, Kansas. The regiment was redesignated in January 1957 as the 891st Engineer Battalion. It was converted again to the 635th Armor on February 1, 1976, consisting of the 1st Battalion. In 1984 the battalion was part of the 69th Infantry Brigade. It was reorganized again on March 1, 1990 to comprise the 1st and 2nd Battalions at Manhattan and Salina, respectively.
About 350 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 635th Armor, departed on the first leg of a deployment to Kosovo on October 27, 2004 as part of NATO’s peacekeeping operation in the former Yugoslavia. On January 27, 2006 they returned from their 15-month deployment to Kosovo. While there, they had provided force protection and fixed and roving security, as well as escort duty.
The Kansas Army National Guard is commanded by Brigadier General Anthony V. Mohatt. Its chief of staff is Colonel Matt Oleen, and its command sergeant major is Howard Whitley.
Historic units include:
- 127th Field Artillery Regiment (United States) Deactivated January 28, 2007
- 130th Field Artillery Regiment
- 235th Field Artillery Regiment
- 130th Field Artillery Brigade (reactivated October 19, 2014)  The 130th Field Artillery history in the Kansas Army National Guard dates back to 1917, where its lineage can be traced through both world wars as part of the 35th Infantry Division, the Korean War and, most recently, Operation Iraqi Freedom. On June 1, 1978, the 130th was redesignated as the 130th Field Artillery Brigade. In 1985 it was again redesignated as the 35th Division Artillery with the reactivation of the 35th Infantry Division. The 130th was reconstituted again on Sept. 2, 1997, in the Kansas Army National Guard in Topeka. Following its Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment, the brigade was inactivated on Nov. 10, 2007.
- 287th Sustainment Brigade
- 1st Battalion, 635th Armor, part of the 40th Infantry Division (California) as of 1998. This unit was deactivated in September 2008, and its former troops are now part of the 2nd Battalion, 137th Regiment (Combined Arms Battalion).
- Joint Forces Headquarters-Kansas (Topeka)
- 69th Troop Command (Topeka)
- 105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
- 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Fort Leavenworth)
- 235th Regiment (RTI) (Salina)
- 635th Regional Support Group (Topeka)(formed 2005 from previous 35th Infantry Division Artillery)
- 130th Field Artillery Brigade (Manhattan)
- "Kansas Adjutant General's Department Annual Report 2008" (PDF). 2008: 6–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 9, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "Kansas Guard Units in the Korean War". Heartland Heroes. Kansas Adjutant General's Department. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- McGrath, John J. (2004). The Brigade: A History (PDF). Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute Press. p. 235. ISBN 9781428910225.
- 69th Infantry Brigade: The 1968 Mobilization, from "THE BATTLE OF FORT CARSON, VIETNAM AND RETURN," the program for 69th Infantry Brigade (Separate). Second Reunion In Commemoration of the Brigade’s Mobilization for Federal Active Duty (May 13, 1968 December 12, 1969), Topeka, Kansas, October 28–29, 1994.
- Isby, David C.; Kamps, Charles (1985). Armies of NATO's Central Front. New York: Jane's Information Group. p. 383. ISBN 9780710603418.
- Pope, Jeffrey Lynn; Kondratiuk, Leonid E. (1995). Armor-Cavalry Regiments: Army National Guard Lineage. Washington, DC.: National Guard Bureau Historical Services Division. p. 67. ISBN 9780788182068.
- Lockard, Hal (January 28, 2006). "Guardsmen return from Europe". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- "Army National Guard". Kansas Adjutant General's Department. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "Inactivation Ceremony To Be Held For 1st Battalion, 127th Field Artillery". Kansas Adjutant General's Department Public Affairs Office. January 23, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "Kansas National Guard's new brigade brings jobs to Manhattan; activation ceremony Oct. 19". Kansas Adjutant General's Department Public Affairs Office. October 15, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "287th Sustainment Brigade will conduct inactivation ceremony May 1". Kansas Adjutant General's Department Public Affairs Office. April 28, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- "Kansas Adjutant General's Department Annual Report 2015" (PDF). 2015: 43. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- "National Guard Home". Kansas Adjutant General's Department. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- Annual Report 2015, p. 47.
- Annual Report 2015, p. 50.
- Annual Report 2015, p. 51.
- Bibliography of Kansas Army National Guard History compiled by the United States Army Center of Military History
- Online publications of Kansas National Guard and Kansas Adjutant General at State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library