Soldiers and civilians with the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence celebrated the Army National Guard’s 377th birthday Dec. 13 on Fort Huachuca. The Army National Guard was formed as a militia in 1636 to defend the Massachusetts Bay Colony in case of attack from local threats. The Colony’s General Court ordered every man 16 – 60 to form three regiments — North, South and East — and participate in the defense of the community as required.
People are most familiar with the Army National Guard serving the country primarily one weekend each month and two weeks concurrently throughout the year. During these times, Soldiers train in their respective military professions to further advance and maintain their skills to be ready and able when called upon.
These Soldiers are located in each of the United States. When not called upon to serve during wartime alongside their active-duty counterparts, they serve at the pleasure of the individual states’ governors and may be requested to aid in service during national disasters or man-made emergencies such as civil unrest in any state or at the request of the president. Approximately 388 Army National Guard students and active duty call Fort Huachuca “home.”
During the ceremony, Maj. Erik Froehlich outlined how the military intelligence connection with the Army National Guard stretched back to the Revolutionary War. He spoke specifically about Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton, who was chosen by Gen. George Washington to form an elite combat unit with men from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Called Knowlton’s Rangers, this organization filled a critical intelligence role for Washington by conducting reconnaissance of the British front lines and capturing British prisoners for interrogation.
In 1995, the Military Intelligence Corps Association established the LTC Thomas W. Knowlton Award, which is awarded to military intelligence professionals who contribute significantly and serve the Military Intelligence Corps with distinction.
Notably, Friday’s ceremony was held in the courtyard of Tallmadge Hall. This building is named for another Revolutionary War intelligence figure, Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, who served as Washington’s primary intelligence chief through much of the war. Tallmadge created the Culper Spy Ring, which supplied Washington with a steady flow of accurate intelligence and situational awareness about British operations in the area of Long Island, N.Y.
Knowlton and Tallmadge are both well-known as MI pioneers in the Army’s history.