The Guard Between the Wars

Between the wars the US Army was reduced from 280,000 to a mere skeleton force of 118,000 and even less. The National Guard was to have approx. 464,000, based on the formula of a strength of 800 per Congressional Representative.

The Modified War Department Program of 1923 reduced this number to 210,531. Appropriations reduced this further to 190,000. It was not until August 1940, that Congress authorized to recruit to a strength of 300,000 based on the fear that the Battle of Britain be lost to Germany.

The following is from the Medina Journal-Register, which was compiled by SFC Donald McElwee of C Co. 174th Armored Infantry in 1968 and which Lt. Col. Richard Glass updated with the closing of the Armory in 1977.

In November 1939, Co. F 108th INF. was ordered to Syracuse for additional training and then a three week Field Training Excersize at DeKalb Junction NY. The unit was authorized to increase it’s strength by approx. 100%. On Oct. 15, 1940 the unit had four officers and 125 enlisted men inducted into active federal service under the command of Captain John W. Oakes as part of the 27th INF. Division.

Departing Medina on October 23, 1940, the company traveled by train to Fort McClellan, Ala., for intensified training. During the period of May 21 to June 30, 1941, the unit participated in the Tennessee Maneuvers and later the Louisiana Maneuvers which was the largest ever by numbers of soldiers participating, manuevers in US military history.

On 7 Dec. 1941 (Pearl Harbor), immediate orders to move to the Pacific coast were issued, and Christmas Day of 1941 found the unit quartered in the grandstand at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds at Pamona Ca. under the command of 1st Lt. Charles L. Lane. Approximately three weeks later the unit moved to Fort Ord Ca. as part of the Advance Detachment of the 108th INF. for overseas service. Original plans were for the 108th to be a garrison force for the Phiippines, but the islands were captured before the unit sailed. Orders were changed, and the unit landed at Kahului, Maui, Territory of Hawaii, on March 15, 1942.

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