Part Three: No Sympathy for Guard Military Families. You Volunteered?


birthday_01The release of "Revolution '67," which aired Tuesday on PBS, has reignited discussions about what Rutgers-Newark historian Clement Price termed "the defining moment in our 20th-century history.


by Robert Hanifin

The National Guard turned 370 years young yesterday, December 13, 2007. Happy Birthday Guard Members, especially Military Family Members regardless your views on 'being used' in any War.

Despite my views and opinions regarding how the National Guard does corporate recruitment as any business would, especially for the War on Terror, that just happens to be a Pentagon trend. It is not the National Guard that I personally have opposition to only the direction ‘our’ State Militias are heading, and OUR State Governors are letting them by giving up State authority over OUR State National Guard units.

That said, yesterday (December 13, 2007) we recognize the 370th Birthday of Our National Guard. My personal thought is do not allow 370 years of illustrious heritage be marred by a decade or two when the Guard has been exploited, used, and abused for ‘political’ purposes beyond any Guard Members control. Put another way, do not accept any politically correct version of Guard heritage be spun to fit today’s controversial political climate. The American people are smarter than revisionists historians (amatuers or pros) think.


In fact, so is the National Guard ‘extended’ military family for that matter. It revisionist historians (in or out of uniform) that I personally question and expose NOT the National Guard Community in this concluding portion of my three part expose.

hireveteransNational Guard and the Vietnam War as America Burns, 1965-1970  [Politically Correct Revisions]                                                        

In Part One of this Three Part expose, I made the comment, “It makes me wonder if the Colonel [attacking Military Families as whiners] was an officer in the Army National Guard when he was young as most Vietnam Vets. Back then Colonel, the Guard really did deserve what the Colonel wants to do [Swiftboat] any Military family members who, in his words, not mine – whines.

To put my exchange with the Colonel ‘on behalf of my military family’ in context, and we have been
members of the extended National Guard family. Those in the National Guard [spouses and families] need to know the ‘accurate’ story of the National Guard Heritage [Legacy]. Both the Colonel and the lady he accuses of whining evidently   know little about National Guard Heritage, and she [not so much this Colonel with an attitude] and others need to learn more about it [both the positive and negative] on the Official National Guard History website(s). Yes, there is more than one, but I focus on both the official and Air National Guard sites. It is written that the National Guards valorous combat duty during Vietnam, back in the day, in NO WAY compares to what the Guard endures today, Colonel No Sympathy for Guard, so please refrain from calling any Guard family member who questions never-ending deployments (ops tempo) or how his or her family is treated. The National Guard has never been so exploited, misused, and abused since the Korean War when Guard Units were recalled en mass due to active duty drawdown after WWII.  You do recall the Forgotten War Colonel, it was sort of like the Vietnam War with enhance American public support but ever so slightly. In fact, the Korean War could compete with the Vietnam War as a comparison for the mess we are in now in the Middle East. Given the fact that both established political parties focus on long-term garrisoning of Iraq with hungry eyes for Iran, the basic difference between Iraq and Korea being there is not yet a DMZ for U.S. and 'Iraqi National Guard' troops to patrol. 

When I first read the official National Guard History about the part it did not play in the Vietnam War and major role it played in the Anti-War and Race Riot Control of the 1965-1970 period, the narrative at the link below resembles nothing like what is in the Official National Guard History (prior to 2004) What’s up with that?

Anti-War and Race Riot Control 1965-1970

In fact, it in no way corresponds with the gloss over of Vietnam (1969) that the official National Guard Heritage link provides. At least it only ‘omits’ but does not lie:

1969 – Vietnam

"During the Vietnam War, no massive call-ups of National Guard and Reserve units were made to raise military manpower. [The controversial question the is applicable today remains WHY not?] However, on January 25, 1968, a limited number of Air Guard units were ordered to active duty following the seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo by the North Koreans. The communists' Tet Offensive in South Vietnam during February 1968 led to another limited mobilization of Army and Air Guard units in March 1968. Of the more than 22,000 Army and Air Guardsmen mobilized following the Tet offensive, nearly 9,000 served in Vietnam. Thousands more served as volunteers in the war zone."

At the next LINK, I buy the part about, “While the fighting in Vietnam raged, the National Guard controlled anti-war and race riots throughout America,” but as a student of Military History, I must question the revisionist 'PC' change since 2004 that, “Against the recommendations of his top advisors, the president [Johnson] refused to mobilize the reserve components. Johnson had no desire to provoke a major war in Southeast Asia, and calling out the Guard and the Reserves, he believed, might escalate the war. In the end, Johnson fought the war primarily with active forces and draftees. Largely denied the opportunity to serve in Vietnam, many individual Guardsmen volunteered. About 2,000 Army Guard volunteers fought in Vietnam, half of them officers. In all, they provided distinguished service, and 23 were killed.”

Let me repeat that part that seriously bothers me and dedicate it to the thousands, including 23 National Guard volunteers killed in Vietnam. Moreso, I repeat it for every combat Veteran that really served in Vietnam,  and is not me – a REMF, and I quote, "Largely denied the opportunity to serve in Vietnam," is in my opinion not  only a downright LIE, but this REVISION digs into a deeper LIE by trying to blame the reason the National Guard "was denied the opportunity to serve in Vietnam" on President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Historic revision is one thing but to base it on LIES goes far beyond plagarism in its stench. 

The Lieutenant Colonel who wrote this revisionist history has about as much ethical integrity and academic honesty as the Retired Colonel who told mostly National Guard families to “Stop Whining!”

The National Guard Association of the United States (NAUS) evidently has a political motive and
hidden agenda in condoning this LIE about the Guard being denied the opportunity to serve in Vietnam to provide a smokescreen for the real reason why the National Guard maintained a low profile during the Vietnam War. Nothing could be more blatant a fantasy than blaming a Democratic President and his Secretary of Defense to divert attention from THE TRUTH. You have other Vietnam Vets, too many combat Vets; try to convince me or them that the National Guard was denied the opportunity to serve in Vietnam, and my response to that will be, which Swiftboat Veteran or POW for Bush twisted your arm to writer such lies?

The truth be told Sir, trying to place the blame on President Johnson (who I have no particular love for) as to the reason why the Guard was not deployed to Nam, and most Guard members with brains and connections had no desire to go to Nam, is downright lying about the Guards overall illustrious heritage.  During Vietnam, the excesses of the Guard (black eye) it earned at Kent State, and ‘the racists’ composition of the National Guard are truths that can be debated but never changed. You can revise history gentlemen, but you cannot revise THE TRUTH.


Forging the Air National Guard
(Scroll down to the section covering Vietnam for a balance picture).

Changing history to teach National Guard recruits LIES about Guard performance during Vietnam is beyond me. Those in the Guard that allow this cover up should only be those who served in the Guard at that time and were racists, if the boot fits, and note I did not say combat boot.

The truth as written in the Official National Guard history (prior to 2004 – HINT) when it was pointed out by National Guard Historians that President Johnson did not  have had the incentive, NAUS says he had, “to deny the Guard an opportunity to serve in Vietnam.” However, the Colonel writing this historical revision conveniently leaves out the fact that Robert McNamara (I cannot stand him either, but we need not lie about these men for the mistakes they made. There is enough truth for that.) Johnson’s Secretary of Defense “honestly” wanted to use the Guard and Reserve in larger numbers in Vietnam in order to avoid eventual implementation of THE DRAFT. Secretary McNamara even went as far as implementing Project 100,000 as a last ditch effort to avoid the draft given opposition from State Governors and law suits against the federal government from Guard members and units questioning the central government’s authority to coop any State governors’ command over state militia and deploy ‘state’ troops to Vietnam, back in the day. The Supreme Court decided that the President did have the Constitutional authority to deploy the National Guard as long as THE DRAFT was implemented. Wishing to avoid the Draft (unsuccessfully BTW), and not desiring a defection of Southern Dixiecrats by challenging Southern governors authority over ‘their troops,’ President Johnson caved in to the South’s desires.

The real reasons the Guard was admittedly deployed to Vietnam in precious few numbers (if one considers 9,000 out of  22,000 called up insignificant in comparison to Regular troops and draftees ‘forced’ to go to Vietnam) was (1) a racist desire to not integrate the dominant all white guard with minority troops, as federal law required of all activated units. (2) The FEAR of diverting State Guard units in large numbers to fight in Vietnam when they were needed by Nixon and a few state governors (mostly in the South) to put down the Civil Rights and anti-War movements, especially in states like Alabama and Texas (wink).




The Official Website of the Air National Guard

Forging the Air National Guard
(Scroll down to the section covering Vietnam for a balanced picture. A further Google search will reveal the 10 Southern States, including Texas and Alabama, that passionately opposed deployment of "their" National Guard Units to Vietnam and the real reasons why!)

Next time a Revisonist Historian for the Army National Guard tries rewriting history, PLEASE ensure you over come inter-service rivalry long enough to coordinate THE LIES, so both branches are on the same page of a Fairy Tale! Do you realise how DUMB this makes the Guard look. POINT: Revising Guard heritage with LIES in no way helps but hurts National Guard credibility and recruitment.

Given we do not know the exact number of American citizens killed or wounded by National Guard units in the deep south, the worse tragedy and DOCUMENTED shameful episode in National Guard history occurred in Ohio.




The Kent State Shootings, 35 Years Later

On a National Public Radio (NPR), Talk of the Nation program, dated May 4, 2005, that you can listen to on Real Player at this link:

On May 4, 2005, NPR reported that former Chicago Tribune reporter Writer Philip Caputo returned to Kent State, 35 years after he covered the shootings there as a young Chicago Tribune reporter. His new book, Thirteen Seconds: the day the war came home, searches for meaning in the violence. In the spring of 1970, Caputo was a 28-year-old general assignment reporter for the Chicago Tribune, three years out of the United States Marine Corps, with which he had served a tour of duty in Vietnam.

The below account of what happened the day Vietnam Marine Veteran Phil Caputo found ‘Four dead in Ohio,’ he was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune assigned to cover college campus unrest. Caputo worked with another reporter John Kifner from the New York Times. Their accounts do not quite jive with the current National Guard revised view as reported by NAUS.

Chicago Tribune Reporter Caputo: “The action was over in five or ten minutes. Protestors and spectators began to straggle off. An officer ordered the soldiers to return to the [Kent State] Commons area. As they did, some students continued to hurl rocks and four-letter words. Suddenly, a line of Guardsmen wheeled, and making no distinction among active demonstrators, bystanders and students merely walking to class, knelt and fired, killing four, wounding nine. The dry facts alone were shocking. The response to a provocation cannot always be proportionate, but to answer stones and bad language with a random volley of .30-caliber bullets was not imaginable in America. Or maybe it was, because America had changed.

I …[heard] on the radio that the [Ohio] Guard's adjutant-general had said that the troops fired after they had been shot at by a sniper. [New York Times reporter John] Kifner shook his head. No witnesses had heard a shot, nor had he, and he'd been with the students. Nevertheless, Guard officers had seized on "evidence" that there had been a sniper on the roof of Taylor Hall. This was a bullet hole in an abstract steel sculpture at one end of the field. We went over to look at it – a bullet hole, all right, but you didn't need ballistics training to see that the round had been fired from ground level.
It had come from a soldier's rifle. [Caputo was after all a Marine Vet who served a tour in Vietnam. Even if he was a REMF, Marine training would have provided him basic insight to tell what a round fired from a soldier’s rifle looked like.]



  • PBS Documentary ‘Revolution 67’
  • Public Domain and NGB public affairs
  • National Guard Assoication of the United States
  • Sugar Coated Revised Version found HERE
  • The PanAfrican News Wire
  • The Kent State Shootings, 35 Years Later


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