Steeped in heritage and tradition, the Illinois National Guard has served our state and nation for nearly 300 years. Under the French, Kaskaskia residents participated in the first militia muster on May 9, 1723. From 1778 to 1779, IL militia joined Colonel George Rodgers Clark and fought the British contributing to the victories of the American Revolution. Captain Abraham Lincoln enlisted during the Black Hawk War, becoming a member of the Illinois National Guard on April 21, 1832. During the Civil War, 259,100 Illinois Volunteer Militia served. In 1918, Colonel Otis Duncan became the highest ranking African-American Soldier in the entire American Expeditionary Force during the World War I. In 1942, 325 men from Company B, 192nd Tank BN suffered severe hardship as P.O.W.’s at the hands of the Japanese during the Bataan Death March during World War II. From the early days at Kaskaskia, service during the world wars, Korea and Vietnam, the Global War on Terror and peacekeeping missions’ in-between, Illinois Guardsmen have earned 113 Medals of Honor.
This tradition of service continues to this day with some 13,000 Illinois National Guard military men and women ready to help our state or our nation at a moment’s notice, always ready, always there! The National Guard!