The Indiana National Guard can trace its history back to 1801 when the Indiana Territory organized militia companies to defend local settlements. Forefathers of Indiana National Guard’s 151st Infantry Regiment fought with General William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.
Indiana militia units were called to federal duty for service in the Mexican War in the 1840s and during the Civil War where thousands of Hoosiers served in all major military campaigns.
In 1895, the Indiana Legion became the Indiana National Guard. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Indiana answered the call for volunteers with five regiments to include two companies of black infantry soldiers.
In 1916, Indiana units were again called to federal service for duty on the Mexican border. Indiana Guardsmen conducted patrols along the border. Although Indiana Guardsmen saw no action, their months of training on the border provided a dress rehearsal for the general mobilization for World War One.
In August 1917, the Indiana National Guard mustered into federal service and reported to Camp Shelby, Mississippi where they joined units from Kentucky and West Virginia to form the 38th Infantry Division. One field artillery regiment served in combat in France as part of the new 42nd (Rainbow) Division. The rest of the 38th Division arrived in France in October 1918 and was used as replacements for front line units.
Indiana National Guard was mobilized again for eventual service in World War Two. Most Guardsmen as members of the 38th Infantry Division, participated in campaigns in the Southwest Pacific Theater, among other operations, wresting the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines from Japanese control. For this action, the 38th Infantry Division was named “The Avengers of Bataan.”
During the Korean War, Indiana Air Guard units were called to defend the airspace within the United States. Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry was mobilized during the Vietnam War and earned the distinction as one of the most highly decorated units of the war. Soldiers and Airmen from the Indiana Army and Air Guard also served honorably in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s.
The Indiana National Guard has been continuously involved in operations in support of the Global War on Terror since 11 September 2001. The Indiana National Guard has deployed nearly 22,000 service members at least once in support of an Overseas Contingency Operation. In all, Indiana Army Guard elements have mobilized in over two hundred and thirty separate, distinct deployments to date. The Indiana Air Guard has contributed in equal measure since 9/11, with major elements of the 122nd and 181st Air Wings mobilized in support of seven major operational deployments in more than nineteen overseas locations.