F.D.R. Orders Guard Units Into Service - Effective Sept. 16 (9-1-40)

Reading Eagle (September 2, 1940)


60,500 Soldiers Called For Year’s Training At Army Camps
President Takes Action While En Route To Southern Centers

Aboard Presidential Special En Route to Chattanooga, Tenn., Sept. 1 (UP) –

President Roosevelt, in a history-making executive order, today called 60,500 officers and men of the National Guard into active service for one year to provide manpower for the new $10,000,000,000 defense machine.

In a move without precedent in the peacetime history of the United States, Mr. Roosevelt ordered the National Guard units to report for 12 months active service on September 16.

The citizen-soldiers, many of whom have just completed intensive war games will be drawn from: New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Delaware, New Hampshire, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Maine, Connecticut, Virginia and Arkansas.

Confined to U.S.

Mr. Roosevelt acted under authority of a bill he signed last Tuesday night. It authorized him to assign the guard units to a year’s active service anywhere in the United States, its territories or possessions, including the Philippines. But there was no indication that for the immediate future at least, any of the officers and men called up will be sent beyond the limits of continental United States.

The order, signed by the President last night in the study of his Hyde Park (N.Y). home, was announced today when the call for the troops was issued.

The troops affected by the order are the vanguard of citizen-soldiers to be called up for seasoning in a program to swell America’s standing army – now numbering 289,000 men – to 1,200,000 within a year. This objective will be attained when Congress completes action on the conscription bill which is now pending in the House.

60,500 Men Affected

The strength of the units called up is 60,500 and Mr. Roosevelt announced that he plans to increase their personnel immediately to 76,689 – to full peace strength – by voluntary enlistment as soon as possible.

The order affects all members, both active and inactive, of the units called up.

The National Guard law, under which the President acted, also organized reserve into active service but none was in the first order.

A total of 408,000 officers and men of the National Guard and reserve are subject to call. Further, executive orders are expected later this year as additional facilities are provided to train them. Plans of the War Department call for training of the guardsmen and reserve as nucleus units, around which vastly expanded organizations can be created when and if Congress passes the conscription bill.

Many May Resign

The enabling law permits guardsmen and reserves below the rank of captain, who have dependent wives or children, to resign to be discharged at their own request during the 20 days subsequent to last Tuesday. Army officials estimate that about 22,000 of the 40,000 total will be eliminated by this clause.

The law under which the troops are called up, provides safeguards for the jobs of the affected men. Employers are informed that they are expected to give guardsmen back their jobs at the expiration of the 12-month training without loss of seniority or pay status. Men who are refused their jobs back are authorized to institute proceedings with federal district attorneys. The bill also extends the provisions of the World War Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act to cover men mustered into service. This protects them against court judgments while under arms and provides for deferment of certain types of obligations.

Hopkins in Party

Former Secretary of Commerce Harry Hopkins accompanied the President as far as Weehawken, N.J. He went to New York, where his daughter-in-law Mrs. David Hopkins is expecting her second child shortly.

Crown Princess Martha of Norway, her three children and her royal entourage, guests at Hyde Park, also accompanied Mr. Roosevelt as far as Weehawken. Escorted by her lady-in-waiting Madame Countess Ragni Ostgaard, the crown princess left the train there for New York, where she will arrange a residence in this country.

At Weehawken, the first of the official party, which will accompany Mr. Roosevelt to Chattanooga, boarded the special train – Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, James Lawrence Fly, one-time TVA solicitor, who now heads the Federal Communications Commission, and Bernard Baruch, who headed the World War industries board in 1917 and 1918.

Capital Group Aboard

The remainder of the special party boarded the presidential special at Washington. It included Federal Security Administrator Paul McNutt, Presidential Secretary Stephen Early, Mr. Roosevelt’s naval and military aides – Capt. Daniel J. Callaghan, Brig. Gen. Edwin Watson and Rear Admiral Ross McIntire, Surgeon General of the Navy – Sen. Kenneth McKellar (D-TN), Sen. Robert Reynolds (D-NC), Sen. Thomas Stewart (D-TN), Rep. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) and Director of the TVA David Lilienthal.

During his swing through the South, Mr. Roosevelt’s special will also pick up Prentice Cooper and Homer Holt, governors of Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Aubrey Williams, head of the National Youth Administration.