California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
Preserving California's Military Heritage
California State Milita and National Guard Unit Histories
Integration of the California National Guard
by
Brigadier General (CA Ret) William G. Hamilton
 
Maj Gen Curtis D. O'Sullivan, the Adjutant General of California meets with the Commander and staff officers of the 1402nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Colored) at Camp San Luis Obispo, circa 1949. (Image 2009.006.032, California State Military Museum Image Library)
 

The Biennial Report of the Adjutant General, for the period 1 July 1948 through 30 June 1950, Page 25 states in part:

"In conformance with Section 130, Military and Veterans Code, 203 colored officers and enlisted men were integrated into California National Guard units during the period of this report. The 40th Infantry Division enlisted 32, 49th Infantry Division 103, 61st Fighter Wing 66, and Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 112th AAA Brigade, appointed one officer."

The current copy of the Military and Veterans Code indicates that Section 130 was added to the code in 1949. It states in part that -

"Members of the militia of the state shall not be segregated on the basis of race, national origin or ancestry, or color, nor discriminated against on such basis in enlistments, promotions, or commissions."

It is noted that the organization of the California National Guard after World War II was still segregated. During the period ending 30 June 1948, there were units designated as "Colored". They were the 6th Engineer Combat Group Headquarters, the 1401st Engineer Combat Battalion, and the 1402nd Engineer Combat Battalion all located in Los Angeles, and the 719th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion located in Alameda.
 
These units still existed on 30 June 1950. On 21 August 1950 the 719th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion was ordered into active military service for the Korean War. It was no longer designated as colored and therefore must have been integrated. On 11 September 1950 the 1401st and 1402nd Engineer Combat Battalions were ordered into active military service for the Korean War but both battalions were designated with an asterisk as *Negro personnel. These two units were still segregated.

The 719th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion was returned to state control from active military service on 14 April 1952. The 1401st and 1402d Engineer Combat Battalions were returned to state control from active military service on 17 January 1955. It must be presumed they were no longer segregated units because all units in the active military service were integrated by this time.

The above information was extracted from several Biennial Reports of the Adjutant General during the years from 1946 until 1955.

Updated 15 January 2009

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