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History
Minnesota National Guard
New York National Guard 369th Infantry: Black Citizen-Soldiers, American Heroes

Not only did the 369th Infantry embody the ideal of the Citizen-Soldier, by mobilizing to defend their nation and serving with great distinction, but it did it while experiencing harsh “Jim Crow” racism

The 369th Infantry, New York National Guard was made up completely of black Soldiers As part of US policy, black Soldiers had always been kept apart from their white counterparts, other than their white commanding officers They were almost always poorly equipped compared to the white regiments

New York Governor Charles Whitman was very specific in the man he chose to command the regiment Col William Hayward, a White public service commissioner who previously served in the Nebraska National Guard, was the unit’s commander He was already known and liked by New York’s black-American community, and he wanted the regiment to become a source of community pride

The 369th encountered racial prejudice from the moment of its inception The entire construction of the regiment, under the policies of the United States, pitted the odds against them

Some of the most intense racism the men experienced was during their mobilization train-up in Camp Wadsworth, SC White South Carolinians refused to treat the black Soldiers with the same dignity as whites, even though the Soldiers had volunteered to die for their country Violence broke out, especially when black-American Soldiers from the north balked at southern “Jim Crow” segregation laws

When the regiment arrived in France, race was not something the French troops paid much attention to, as they were badly in need of troops after years of brutal trench warfare The French persuaded Gen John Pershing to reassign the 369th and three other colored regiments to the French Fourth Army

In 191 days of under enemy fire, the 369th never lost a prisoner or gave up a foot of captured ground The regiment as a whole was awarded the French military honor, the Croix de Guerre, and 171 of the officers and troops received individual citations for bravery, more than any other American unit in the war

The mention of the unit’s French awards is significant because of the awards that were purposefully overlooked by US commanders Commanders in the US were more than reluctant to reward black Soldiers for excellent performance, which is an indication of the extent that racism penetrated American life

The respect given to the Soldiers by the French Army was surpassed by the amount of respect the enemy German Soldiers gave them The Germans began referring to the men of the 369th as Blutlustige Schwartzmanner – “Bloodthirsty Black Men” The French gave the regiment the nickname it would take into history – “The Hellfighters”

Pvt Needham Roberts, Pvt Henry Johnson, and Lt James Reese Europe were Soldiers who served with distinction made significant contributions to the war effort and to America

Pvt Roberts and Pvt Johnson fought off a German patrol after being wounded, attacking with knives and rifle butts when the ammunition ran out Three American journalists visiting the 369th to report on the band spread word of the battle back to the US Roberts and Johnson became national heroes, especially in the black-American communities

Europe was the first black-American officer to lead troops into battle during the war, but was also the 369th Band director who was responsible for introducing jazz music to the French
 
Despite having to simultaneously persevere against the Axis enemy abroad and the racism enemy at home, the 369th Infantry “Hellfighters” served proudly and contributed greatly to the Allied Forces victory in WWI The Hellfighters not only embodied the essence of the Citizen-Soldier, but they also did it, much like the 54th Massachusettes volunteers of the Civil War and the “Buffalo Soldiers” of the American frontier, in a time when their nation would not even recognize them as equal

By Sgt Joe Roos, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
Feb 11, 2008

 





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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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