The New Hampshire State Guard Saved Lives

Newton Tolman of New Hampshire told journalist Roy Hoopes:

I was interested in the State Guard, because I knew a lot of these young kids who had never gone through the sixth grade  and I thought “Jesus they’ll get drafted and they don’t know how to kill or drill; they don’t know nothing.” So I went all over the area, not only in my town, telling the young kids to get into the State Guard. They’d say, “What for?” And I’d say, “Well you’re going to get drafted.  Don’t you know there’s a war going on?”

Well, I talked a lot of them into it.  A fellow who was in here this morning got into the Marines.  He has only one eye now.  He had a terrible time, but he made it out. If he hadn’t had this State Guard preliminary training he wouldn’t have. These guys could hardly read or write or anything, but they learned to drill, they learned the routine, principally the phony part of it but you have to learn it. Once a week we’d have encampments, and then we’d go out there or four nights and have sham battles in the woods and that kind of stuff.  All the officers got drunk as hell.  These kids remember that training to this day.  I saw one yesterday who I hadn’t seen in about fifteen years.  He said, “You know, you saved my life with that State Guard thing.”

Credit for this story goes to Roy Hoopes  (1922-2009) “Americans Remember the Home Front”


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