Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guarding History: Activities of Units to Be Documented

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guarding History: Activities of Units to Be Documented

Article excerpt

In May 1898, about 84 men attached to Company C of the National Guard in Mexico volunteered when the call went out for America to fight Spain.

The guard unit fought in World War II and Korea. In 1960, the local unit was called to help quell a prison riot in Jefferson City, and during the Great Flood of 1993, it rallied to fight the Mississippi River at Canton.

Now, the state is beginning an effort to document the history of Missouri's Guard units, starting in Mexico. Tonya Robbins, a state historical services coordinator, spent part of this month documenting artifacts from the Mexico Guard. She photographed old pictures of Guard units to put on file. Some of the artifacts she documents may someday be included in a National Guard Museum at the Ike Skelton Training Center in Jefferson City. She's also helping organize the artifacts as she records them. With 65 units in the state, Robbins figures she will be at her job for about 10 years. Mexico was her first stop. Meanwhile, Paul Lewis, 68, a retired lieutenant colonel from Mexico, has begun his own personal effort to preserve the history of the Mexico Guard. Lewis has formed the 128th Field Artillery Regiment. It's not a military unit, but an association of former military personnel who have connections with Mexico's actual Guard unit: the 128th Field Artillery Battalion. "The regiment had its roots in a particular community or geographic area within a state," Lewis said. "The regiment was not only the repository for history and tradition, it also served as the basic personnel organization. Before 1959, National Guard soldiers could spend their entire military careers in a particular regiment. In 1959, Army National Guard regiments were replaced by battle groups, which were later replaced by battalions." Lewis' group will be headquartered in Columbia, with support groups in Mexico, Moberly, Boonville, Marshall, Hannibal, Kirksville and St. …

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