Introduction Training Florida Home Front Floridian Service Impact on Florida
Florida on the Eve of War
Pearl Harbor and its Impact
Military Training in Florida
Aviation
Land Warfare
Amphibious
WAAC Training at Daytona Beach
The German Submarine Threat
Civil Defense & Patrols
Rationing & Government Effort
Scrap, Gardens & Kids' Activities
War Bonds & Women's Roles
Homegrown Armor: The Alligator
National Guard & State Guard
United States Army
Navy & Marines
Coast Guard
Army Air Force
Women on Duty
African Americans
War Heroes
War's Impact on Florida
Citrus Goes to War
Industry and War Products
Tourism During the War Years
The War Ends
How WWII Changed the State

Floridians in Military Service: National Guard and State Guard
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In addition to the hundreds of thousands of servicemen and servicewomen who came to Florida from other states to train and serve, more than 248,000 Floridians, including some 50,000 African Americans, volunteered or were drafted. Others joined the Merchant Marine and thousands of women volunteered for auxiliary organizations. Floridians served in all major theaters of the war, and over 4,600 died in service. A number of Floridians rose to high military rank, including Army Generals Joseph Stilwell and James Van Fleet, and U.S. Marine General Roy Geiger. Many Floridians earned military awards for their bravery, including seven who received the Medal of Honor.

Florida National Guard and Florida State Guard.

In 1939, the Florida National Guard consisted of more than 3,000 volunteers. In 1940, after the fall of France and the commencement of the Battle of Britain, President Franklin Roosevelt urged Congress to increase military spending, institute the first peacetime draft in American history, and federalize portions of the National Guard. Florida's National Guard was called into active national military service between November 1940 and January 1941.

Florida's National Guard units initially were part of the 31st Infantry Division, nicknamed the "Dixie Division," due to its composition of guard units from several southern states. Camp Blanding was the division's mobilization and training sit from late 1940 through mid-1941. Over the following months, many Florida Guardsmen were assigned to different units, and fought in virtually every campaign of the war in Europe and the Pacific. Others remained in the 31st Division, which saw combat at New Guinea and in the Philippines. Some units of the 124th Infantry Regiment earned Distinguished Unit Citations for their performance. At least 158 guardsmen died during the conflict, and many earned medals for gallantry.

Following the Guard's mobilization, a Florida Defense Force, later known as the Florida State Guard, was established to assume the duties of the departed guardsmen. By 1943, the Florida State Guard numbered 2,100 men in 36 units.

Florida Remembers WWII
Members of the 124th Infantry Regiment, 31st Division, moving up the beach to the front lines on New Guinea, August 1944 -- (National Archives)
 Members of the 124th Infantry Regiment, 31st Division, moving up the beach to the front lines on New Guinea, August 1944
(National Archives)
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