National Guard Militia Museum of NJ
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey has two locations in Sea Girt and Lawrenceville. The Museum tells the story of the state’s Militia and National Guard beginning with colonization and up to the present day, paying particular attention to the diversity of the New Jersey citizen soldier and his or her experience. Plan a visit and learn more at njmilitamuseum.org.
New Jersey State Archives
The NJ State Archives, in the Department of State, is the official repository and research center for New Jersey public records of enduring historical value. The archives maintain thousands of images of National Guard, military and wartime activities. View the collection at nj.gov/state/archives.
Veterans History Project
Center for U.S. War Veterans’ Oral Histories
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey is the home of the Center for U.S. War Veterans’ Oral Histories. It is the Center’s mission to collect and preserve the memories of veterans through recorded oral history interviews.
To access the online archives or to participate in the program, please visit the Center for U.S. War Veterans’ Oral Histories.
50th Armored Division
The 50th Armored Division was the major New Jersey National Guard unit in the post-World War II era. On 13 October 1945 the US War Department established a postwar 27-division Army National Guard structure with 25 infantry divisions and 2 armored divisions. The 50th Armored Division replaced the 44th Infantry division in the New Jersey National Guard and adopted the nickname "Jersey Blues," a term first used during the French and Indian War, in honor of the state’s military heritage. In the reorganization of the 1940s the unit retained many of the 44th’s unit designations, including the 113th and 114th Infantry.
At its height, the 50th Armored Division had mechanized infantry, armor, field artillery, antiaircraft, TOW missile, medical-surgical, maintenance, intelligence, military police, engineer, scout, helicopter, and supply & service units. The size and complexity of the division and its weaponry signaled the end of Sea Girt, NJ as an annual training destination, and most subsequent annual training was held at Pine Camp, later Camp (Fort) Drum, New York. Sea Girt was still used for ceremonies and remains the home of several Guard units.
Units of the 50th were called into service during the urban disturbances of July 1967 in Newark. In a 1968 reorganization, which added a New York brigade, the Division lost its 'Jersey Blues' nickname. A subsequent reorganization replaced the New York unit with a Vermont unit, but the division headquarters remained in New Jersey. In 1988 the Vermont brigade left the division, to be replaced by a Texas brigade.
On 1 September 1993, the 50th Armored Division was inactivated, and its remaining brigades joined other divisions. New Jersey's 50th Infantry Brigade, which inherited the division's lineage, was made part of the 42nd Infantry Division.
177th Fighter Wing
The 177th Fighter Wing traces its roots back to September 1917 as the 119th Aero Squadron. The 119th Aero Squadron, an active duty training squadron during World War One, was demobilized in May 1919.
In 1930, the 119th Observation Squadron was given federal recognition as part of the 44th Infantry Division, New Jersey National Guard, 119th Fighter Squadron at Newark. In 1958, the 119th Fighter Squadron moved to the former Navy facility in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and was re-designated the 119th Tactical Fighter Squadron. In 1962 the unit became the 177th Tactical Fighter Group, the 177th Fighter Interceptor Group in 1972, 177th Fighter Group in 1992, and finally became the 177th Fighter Wing in 1995. The 177th Fighter Wing has been activated twice to federal service since World War II. In 1961, the unit was called up for the Berlin Crisis and in 1968 for the Pueblo Crisis, which sent unit members to all corners of the globe including Vietnam.
Years later, 70 unit members were activated in support of Operation Desert Storm. As the events of September 11th unfolded, the 177th Fighter Wing, through years of preparation, training and commitment launched to our nation's emergency and desperate call for help. These Air Guard warriors brought with them the character and core values of generations of heroic citizen soldiers and airmen. After September 2001, the wing had an active involvement in Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
October 30, 2012
More than 2,200 Soldiers and Airmen took part in the largest domestic mobilization in the New Jersey National Guard’s history. The Soldiers and Airmen of the New Jersey National Guard (NJNG) ended up rescuing more than 7,000 people and their pets across a 150-mile swath of the Garden State. They cleared more than 300 miles of debris from power lines, delivered more than 25,000 meals and prepared at least that many more in two Mobile Kitchen Trailers.
The NJNG was the lynchpin in a broad Federal Emergency Management Agency operation to deliver fuel to first responders, partnering with the Pennsylvania National Guard and the 10th Mountain Division to operate fuel points in Egg Harbor, Freehold and West Orange. They provided more than 250 hours of helicopter lift to support civil authorities, supported the operation of more than a half dozen shelters for displaced residents and delivered tens of thousands of basic needs commodities to displaced residents.
As New Jersey began the monumental task of rebuilding, the state's Soldiers and Airmen remained on duty, assisting civil authorities with traffic control points and security patrols in the hardest-hit areas.
Dates In History
The New Jersey National Guard ceased to be an all-male organization when the first women soldiers in its history, two nurses, Captain Frances R. Comstock and 1st Lieutenant Lucille Valentino of Paterson, were sworn in as members of the 114th Mobile Surgical Hospital.
Maj. Gen. Maria A. Falca-Dodson became the first female to be promoted to the rank of Major General in the New Jersey National Guard.
U.S. Army Warrant Officer Nicole C. Richardson, 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard was recognized by the NJ Assembly as the first black woman Army warrant officer aviator in New Jersey.