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The Birth of the American Fighting Man

The First Muster By Don Troiani

Salem, Massachusetts, 1637 – The history of the National Guard began on December 13, 1636, when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the colony’s militia companies into three regiments: the North, South and East Regiments.
The colonists had adopted the English militia system which obligated all males, between the ages of 16 and 60, to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community.
The early colonial militia drilled once a week and provided guard details each evening to sound the alarm in case of attack.
The growing threat of the Pequot Indians to the Massachusetts Bay Colony required that the militia be in a high state of readiness.
The organization of the North, South and East Regiments increased the efficiency and responsiveness of the militia. Although the exact date is not known, the first muster of the East Regiment took place in Salem, Massachusetts.
The National Guard continues its historic mission of providing units for the first-line defense of the nation. The 101st Engineer Battalion, Massachusetts Army National Guard, continues the East Regiment’s proud heritage of 350 years of service.
Here is some more about this Old Outfit
The 101st Engineer Battalion is a branch of the Massachusetts National Guard and one of the oldest serving regiments of the United States Army. The 101st Engineer Battalion was originally established as the East Regiment. As the first muster was held on the green in Salem, Massachusetts, Salem is seen as the birthplace of the National Guard.


On 13 December 1636, the Massachusetts General Court ordered the organization of three militia regiments designated as the North, South, and East regiments. The East Regiment (later the Essex Regiment) provided protection and support to the Settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for 139 years. It also fought in the Pequot Indian Wars, King Philip’s War, and the French and Indian War.
The 101st played a key role in the Revolutionary War. Elements fought the British Regulars on 19 April 1775, that started the battle for independence and an active duty regiment saved General George Washington’s Army after the Battle of Long Island in August of 1776. The same element helped the American cause to remain alive in December of 1776 during the Battle of Trenton. They manned the boats for General Washington to cross the Delaware.
During the Civil War, three separate Regiments were established in Essex County. The 8th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia sailed to Annapolis, Maryland, in April of 1861; boarded the USS Constitution; and sailed her to New York Harbor so she would not fall into the hands of the Confederates. The 19th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia fought with the Army of the Potomac and had seven Medal of Honor Recipients. The 50th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia had port duty in Louisiana and had one Medal of Honor recipient.
Although the Battalion did not fight in the War with Spain, the Headquarters Company did. The Battalion was mobilized for World War I. However the Second and Eighth Massachusetts Militia were consolidated to form the 104th Infantry Regiment under the 26th Infantry Division. The remaining cadres were reorganized as the Fifth Pioneer Infantry, but was not deployed overseas.
In 1920, the 5th Pioneer Infantry (Engineers) was re-designated the 101st Engineer Battalion and realigned under the 26th Yankee Division, where it would remain until the division was deactivated in 1993.
The 101st Engineer Battalion fought with the 26th Infantry Division under Patton’s Third Army, and provided the maps to the Third Army for the relief of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge.
From 1993 to 2006 the 101st Engineer Battalion was aligned under the 42nd Infantry Division.
In 2006, HHC deployed to Kosovo as part of Task Force Falcon.
In October 2008, the Battalion was placed under the new 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and placed the “YD” patch back on its left shoulder.
In June 2009 the Battalion mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing Construction and Combat Engineer support to the Multi-National Division Baghdad/United States Division-Central area. For this, the Battalion earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.

Active units within the battalion[edit]

  • Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • Forward Support Company
  • 181st Engineer Company (Vertical)
  • 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper)
  • 183rd Engineer Team (Survey & Design)
  • 188th Facilities Engineer Detachment
  • 189th Engineer Team (Asphalt)
  • 195th Engineer Team (Survey & Design)
  • 379th Engineer Company (Horizontal)

Campaign participation credit[edit]

Revolutionary War

  • Lexington, Boston, Long Island, Princeton, Saratoga, Monmouth, Trenton, New York 1776, New York 1777, Rhode Island 1777, Rhode Island 1778, Rhode Island, 1779, New Jersey 1780

Civil War

  • Peninsula, Manassas, Antietam, Mississippi River, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Appomattox, Virginia 1861, North Carolina 1863, Virginia 1863, Virginia 1864

World War I (Bn units were organized under the 104th IN)
World War II

  • Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe

Operation Joint Guardian, Battle of the Bulge

  • Kosovo (2006-2007)

Global War on Terror (12 Combat Deployments since 11 September 2001)

  • Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Operation Enduring Freedom

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