California State Guard celebrates 80th Birthday

The California State Guard recently celebrated its 80th Birthday.  We thank them for their service and dedication to California and the United States.



The latest in our series of images commemorating the California State Guard’s 80th birthday.
In the opening days of World War II, there was a stateside fear of a Japanese amphibious invasion or at least an aircraft carrier-based bombing campaign on Southern California defense industries.
The question of how to remove hundreds of thousands of people who had no means of evacuating potential target areas considered when forming the CSG in early 1941. The answer was the 1st Evacuation Regiment.
Also known as the 1st Evacuation Corps, the “Station Wagon Brigade” was formed in response to the fears that the anticipated Japanese invasion would require a massive evacuation of Southern California. Sort of like the “taxicab army” of the First World War, it was planned to organize and use civilian station wagons to evacuate families and individuals without personal transportation. In February 1942, the regiment conducted a major training exercise when it convoyed from its home station to a movie set located in Calabasas. The set portrayed “Fort Abraham Lincoln”, in the Errol Flynn movie, “They Died With Their Boots On”. Images of the this exercise from a May 1942 edition of Life magaine are shown here.
Many Hollywood actors and musicians were among the Regiment’s members:
– Rudie Vallee, band leader and singer.
– Ceasar Romero, the Joker in the original Batman TV series.
– Cliff Arquette, who made appearances on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show as Charlie Weaver.
– Buster Keaton, who served with Company B, 159th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division in World War I.
– Robert Young, lead actor in Marcus Welby, MD.
– Donald Crisp, formerly served with the British Army’s 10th Hussars during the Boer War and the British Intelligence Corps during World War I.
– Lewis Stone, then appearing as Judge Hardy in the Andy Hardy films, was their commander with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Lt. Col. Stone was a veteran of both the Spanish American War and World War I.
The regiment was mustered out of service as a State Guard unit on 27 March 1942 in accordance with General Orders Number 20, California Adjutant General’s Office. However, it was immediately reestablished as a licensed militia company in the California State Militia with the Adjutant General issuing a license on 16 May 1942. The regiment continued to serve until Governor Earl Warren’s reorganization of the State Guard and the deactivation of the State Militia. The regiment had its license revoked and was officially disbanded on 31 July 1943 in accordance with Adjutant General’s Office General Orders No. 202.
Officers of the regiment wore the insignia of World War I Motor Transport Corps as a branch insignia.
Also shown are 2nd Lts (CA) Robert Young and Cesar Romero at a fundraiser for the CSG’s 1st Medical Regiment held at the Hollywood Palladium night club and hosted by actress and philanthropist Capt (CA) Marion Davies and her paramour, media tycoon William Randolph Hearst.
Also shown is an image of 2nd Lt. (CA) Rudie Vallee which serves as an excellent study of the early World War II CSG officer’s service uniform.
(California Military Department Historical Collection and Calisphere)

California State Guard



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