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The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey  
Museums are closed on Memorial Day
50th Armored Division In The Post-WWII Era

The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey has a standing exhibit that chronicles the history of the state as seen through the eyes of its military, from the 17th century to today’s operations, in chronological order.

We also have special temporary exhibits, which have included D-Day, New Jersey’s role in World War I and the work of renowned artist Gregory Perillo portraying recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our next temporary exhibit will cover the 50th Armored Division and its ancillary units. The 50th 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 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.




The Seven Weeks brothers of Jersey City attempted to join the 309th Antiaircraft Battalion of the New Jersey National Guard’s 50th Armored Division in 1947, but only six made it. The accepted Weeks boys were Robert, Edward, Albert, John, LeRoy, and James. When the unit commander, Captain J. J. O’Callaghan, was made aware that the seventh brother, Joseph, was only 15 years old, he was rejected for service.






New Jersey Governor Alfred E. Driscoll and New Jersey National Guard General Donald McGowan attend an “air raid drill” in Newark in 1952.





New Jersey Guardsmen training at Camp Drum, New York in the 1960s.





New Jersey National Guardsmen in Newark during the riots of July 1967.





50th Armored Division Advertising Sticker.


 
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