This collection includes three interviews detailing participation in the Montana National Guard. The interviews were conducted in 1985 by Milo McLeod. The interviewees discuss their military training, recruiting practices, daily life in the National Guard, and activation in specific wars. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 150 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 3 interviews.
First Sergeant Clyde Fickes describes the time he spent in the National Guard during the early 1900s, first in Ohio and then in Montana. Fickes recalls being sent with the Montana Guard to the Mexican-American border in 1916. He describes the living conditions and activities of the soldiers during their time on the border. Fickes tells of his experiences with the Guard in Montana as well, relating training regimes, equipment used, and attitudes of different officers. A Forest Service employee for many years, Fickes talks about starting up the Ninemile Remount Depot.
Clyde Fickes’ wife, Corrine is present for the interview.
Colonel Joe Upshaw discusses the history of the National Guard in Montana, specifically in the years immediately leading up to and following the United States’ involvement in World War II. Upshaw talks about participating in a National Guard company in Chinook, MT, and he describes the various companies throughout Montana as well. He discusses recruiting practices, the daily life of National Guard members, and various aspects of the National Guard administration in Montana. Upshaw also recounts the sequence of events that led to the National Guard being activated in World War II. He describes how the various companies were reconstituted following the war.
Wally Gerston describes his decision to join the Montana Guard in 1959, and his first years spent serving in the Havre, Montana unit. He talks about the basic skills he learned during his weekly, four-hour night drills. He recalls serving with the Alaskan National Guard and working the Eskimo Scouts, or First Rifle Platoon, whose members were recruited from small fishing villages in Alaska. Gerston tells how the scouts are trained to use live ammunition and camouflage themselves with all-white gear in order to guard the Bering Sea against enemy invasion into Alaska.