There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them.
-An American general observing the First Nebraska Volunteer Regiment
(Nebraska National Guard) in the Philippines, 1899.
Citizen-Soldiers in Nebraska History
The American Revolution could not have been won without colonial militiamen. The U.S. Constitution established the militia as a primary component of national defense, considered preferable to a large standing army. The Militia Act of 1792 provided for the enrollment of all men between the ages of 18 and 45. State and territorial governors were responsible for the appointment of officers and training.
The Nebraska National Guard became the active component of the state militia in 1881, when the legislature established a military code for Nebraska. The federal Dick Act of 1903 laid the foundation for the National Guard's dual state/federal role, which sets it apart from other military reserve forces.
Although the governor urged the formation of militia companies for home defense as early as 1854, this 1856 act of the territorial legislature marked the official organization of the Nebraska militia. The companies were to provide their own arms and equipment. Many companies were little more than social organizations, which gathered for pomp and ceremony on national holidays.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Manuscript Collection (345/N27l, v.1-3)
Private James Hutton of the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry, 1861. Volunteer soldiers, many from pre-war militia units, formed the bulk of both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Nebraska Territory furnished more than three thousand volunteers for the Union Army.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Photograph Collection, RG2057-40
Henson Wiseman carried this musket while serving with the Second Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry in 1863. The regiment was organized to protect the Nebraska settlements, but the federal government sent most of the Second Nebraska to fight Indians in Dakota Territory.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collection (2449-1)
Henson Wiseman, Saint James, Nebraska
"Sioux Indian War" medals were issued to Nebraska National Guardsmen deployed to northwestern Nebraska in the wake of the December 29, 1890, Wounded Knee Massacre. The soldiers did no fighting and soon returned home.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collections (4755-1)
Fred C. Cave, Oxford, Kansas
The First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry on the firing line in the Philippines, March 31, 1899. The Nebraska National Guard furnished three regiments for federal service after the U.S. declared war on Spain in 1898. Only one saw fighting and not against Spanish troops.
The First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry suffered significant casualties when Filipino nationalists resisted American occupation of their country following Spain's defeat. The 1898-1899 conflict was the first overseas deployment for the Nebraska National Guard.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Photograph Collection, S735[7136-142]
Medal awarded to Captain P. J. Cosgrave of Lincoln for service with the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry in the Philippines.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collection (9210-430)
Pearl Joan Cosgrave, Lincoln, Nebraska
Nebraska National Guardsmen were sent to Omaha after a tornado devastated the city on Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913. An estimated 170 persons were killed and property damage exceeded $10 million. This view of some of the soldiers appeared in Picture Story of the Omaha Tornado Disaster.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Library Collection (Pam978.238/B17p)
Medal issued to Nebraska National Guardsmen sent to the Mexican border in June 1916 after Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico. While U.S. troops pursued Villa into Mexico, the Nebraska soldiers remained at Camp Llano Grande, Texas, for more than six months.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collection (10284-5)
Mae Louise Hamilton, Omaha, Nebraska
Company L, Sixth Nebraska Infantry, Nebraska National Guard, while training at Camp Cody near Deming, New Mexico, in October 1917. More than five thousand Nebraska National Guardsmen were called into federal service after the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, but they did not go overseas as a unit. (10 Mb PDF of photograph)
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Photograph Collection, N277.4-147 and
Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collection
Nebraska guardsman Roy Frank Watson of Douglas, Nebraska, wore this helmet while serving in France and Germany from October 1918 through July 1919.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collection (11881-1)
Joan M. Uribe, Lincoln, Nebraska
Colonel (later General) Butler B. Miltonberger's personal copy of the history of the 134th Infantry Regiment (Nebraska National Guard) during World War II, which includes a map of the regiment's trek across Europe (PDF). Miltonberger, from North Platte, was the regiment's commander.
"All Hell Can't Stop Us," the regiment's motto, came from a statement by an American general observing the First Nebraska Volunteer Regiment in the Philippines in 1899: "There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them."
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Library Collection
(L. to R.) Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, 35th Division commander General Paul Baade, Colonel Butler B. Miltonberger, and General George S. Patton inspected the 134th Infantry Regiment in England before the regiment entered combat in France in July 1944.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Photograph Collection, RG3558 (M662-144)
After the 134th Infantry Regiment liberated Nancy, France, in September 1944, city officials presented Colonel Miltonberger with a scroll expressing their gratitude.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Photograph Collection, RG3558 (M662-496)
A Nebraska National Guard transport en route to drop hay to stranded cattle during the Blizzard of 1949. The Nebraska National Guard has been deployed numerous times for state emergencies, including blizzards, floods, forest fires, and tornadoes.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Photograph Collection, RG3139-109
The Nebraska Air National Guard was authorized in 1946. This patch represents the Air Guard's most recent mission, aerial refueling with KC135 tanker aircraft.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Collection (11364-6)
Larry Sommer, Lincoln, Nebraska
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-91, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, was the first overseas deployment for the Nebraska National Guard since World War II. Twenty-five Nebraskans serving in the 1267th Medical Company were the last to return home, arriving in Lincoln on May 17, 1991.
Source: "The Green, Green Grass of Home." (Lincoln Journal Star, May 18, 1991)