Frank Richards


By Frank Richards
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,. . ."
The U.S. Constitution
The National Guard (Militia) began in Dickinson, N.D., June 16, 1897. It became Company "K” of the First North Dakota Infantry at that time and served with the First North Dakota Infantry throughout the Spanish American War and the Philippine insurrection. They returned to North Dakota to become a part of the community and to establish the start of their life as an integral part of Dickinson.
In 1910 they, along with the citizens of Dickinson, established a Military Training School, a corporation, which by selling stock and raising money through other means, including a loan from The State of North Dakota, constructed the Dickinson Armory. That armory remained the home of the Dickinson unit of the National Guard until the new armory was constructed, 1972.

In the, 1930's the old armory was remodeled to later become the Dickinson Community Building and still later the Dickinson City Hall. This was made possible because the Dickinson Military School corporation and the State donated their interests in the building to the City of Dickinson, through a WPA grant from the federal government and with materials reclaimed from the old Dickinson High School building.

In addition to serving in the Spanish American War and the Philippine insurrection, the Dickinson unit served as Company “K” of the First North Dakota Infantry on the Mexican Border in 1916 and during World War I from 1917-1919. Later after World War I the unit became Company “K” 164th Infantry. From 1941-1946 they served in the Pacific Theater of World War II. They returned to Dickinson after that war only to be recalled to serve during the Korean Incident, 1951-1953. They then returned to Dickinson and became Company “B” 131st Engineers, 1955.

The record of the Dickinson unit of the National Guard has been one of distinction. During the Spanish American War and the Philippine Insurrection several of its members were recommended for the Medal of Honor, the highest decoration the U.S. offers its military personnel. During World War II the Dickinson unit was part of the first U.S. Army Force to take the offensive. On Guadacanal in the Pacific Theater as part of that force, they along with the U.S. Marines stemmed the Japanese thrust south and began the drive which brought about peace in the Pacific and ended World War II. For this service the Dickinson unit received “The Presidential Unit Citation."

The National Guard of Dickinson has been organized and trained to serve the community of Dickinson and the state of North Dakota with its equipment and personnel as needed. Fortunately their use as a security force for local purposes has not been extensively used. In the state they have been used as such on several occasions. The unit has, however, given the local young men an opportunity to train themselves for military duty so that when they were needed they could and did render more efficient service. This proved to be effective for those who served on federal duty and enabled many of them to serve with distinction. Their training has also enabled them to be of much greater service locally. Hundreds of young men can trace their outstanding service to Dickinson, the State of North Dakota and the United States to the foundation in their training started here in the National Guard of Dickinson, N.D.

“The Militia is certainly an object of primary importance, whether viewed in reference to the national security, to the satisfaction of the community or to the preservation of order.”
George Washington.