Texas Military Forces Historical Sketch

World War I Period

On June 3, 1916, the National Defense Act, making further and more effectual provision for the national defense, became a law. All the officers and over 90 percent of the units of the Texas National Guard had already taken the Federal oaths required by this new law.

The Texas National Guard was organized as a reinforced brigade, consisting of three regiments of infantry, one squadron of cavalry, two batteries of field artillery, two engineer companies and field hospital. The Guard's strength was 216 officers and 4,689 enlisted men. The Texas Naval Militia was organized as a battalion, consisting of two deck divisions and a section of engineers and marines, with a strength of 11 officers and 145 enlisted men.

With a legislative appropriation of $20,000, an arsenal was erected at Camp Mabry, being the first building ever erected by the State for the National Guard. Immediately on completion of the arsenal, all military stores of every description were removed from the State Capitol.

In January, under authority of a special act of the 35th legislature, a Loyalty Ranger Force was authorized, to consist of approximately three picked men from each county in Texas. The duties of this force were to act as a secret service department for the State and work in conjunction with all Federal, State, county and municipal officers in the execution of all State laws, especially House Bill No. 15, better known as the "Hobby Loyalty Act." Through the assistance of the loyalty secret service department, the Adjutant General was kept advised as to the Mexican revolutionary activities carried on, principally outside of San Antonio and in the border counties in Mexico and Texas.

When a state of war was declared to exist between Germany and the United States, Texas furnished a total of 111,190 men who qualified for service under draft calls. Through enlistments and voluntary inductions, Texas furnished a total of 45,965 who were in the draft age. No part of the personnel of the National Guard organized during the spring and summer of 1918 is included in the above figures, and to this total must be added those registrants who enlisted in the Navy and Marine Corps and such other registrants as were inducted in the Army in 1918. An additional 25,000 men who volunteered in these several branches of the service would be a conservative estimate, which gave Texas a grand total of 182,153 men who joined the colors.

The governor's personal staff, state headquarters, brigade headquarters, Second, Third and Fourth Infantry Regiments, Cavalry Squadron, Medical Department (Medical Corps, Medical Reserve Corps, Field Hospital, Dental Surgeons) were called into Federal service April 1, 1917, the entire Texas Naval Militia, composed of the Houston and Galveston companies, was mustered into Federal service, leaving the State of Texas without a naval militia.

The Rainbow (42nd) Division which was the first National Guard Division to go overseas, was composed of National Guard troops from all parts of the United States, Texas furnishing the 117th Supply Train, which was made up of Texas National Guard Motor Truck Companies 1 to 6, inclusive, from Dallas, Austin, Houston and Big Spring.

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