(Thanks to Larry Collins for sharing this document)
With substantially 15,000 man hours of practice, procedure and training under their military belts, the Ipswich Company of the Massachusetts State Guard is rapidly being whipped into shape as a trained military unit for the protection of life and property in this area. Formed last January, it has come a long ways since that winter day when State authorities faced the imperative need of rounding up green men and welding them into a State military force, which has grown so rapidly that today there are more than 118 companies comparable to the Ipswich Company, plus the lettered companies of the State Guard
The Ipswich Company, one of the first to recruit its full complement of 61 men and three officers, has already been cited for its exceptional record, and participated in outside parades and maneuvers to typify the manner in which State Guard companies should operate. It is under the command of Captain Lewis S. Clement of County Road, the man selected last January by the Adjutant General’s office to tackle the task of bringing together untrained men and teaching them the rudiments and fundamentals of modern warfare that the people at home might be amply protected with the regular army engaged in training for overseas fighting.
It is doubtful if one per cent of the populace in Ipswich are familiar with the untold number of hours the men of the Ipswich company have already put in, the countless numbers of miles they have tramped in their training. and the intensive detail wo rk already put in in studying the terrain of this countryside to prepare against invasion. paratroop landings, the deadly work of saboteurs, riots, and the manifold tasks that confront this group of men in the event of trouble. Like many phases of war work and civilian defense activities today it is a “thankless job.” in the event one is looking for pubic recognition of the labor involved. From the outset, however, each man enlisting in the Ipswich Company realized he was “in” for the duration, that the hardships were his for the asking, and that he was not looking for public thanks.
The men feel it is a job they can do at home while the other men continue the fight for freedom in the embattled forts, seas and lands of the entire world. It was necessary, therefore, with the National Guard gone into the regular army, to have a military arm in the State for the more direct protection of life and property, suppression of rebellion. protection against invasion. armed forces in the event of riots, etc.
The Ipswich men enlisting in the State Guard recognized the gravity of the situation much more than most of the populace, being cognizant of the fact that they were enlisting for the duration of the war, that they became subject to army rules and regulations, and that they could not be excused from service in the State Guard except in the event of enlisting in the armed forces of their country.
Men in the State Guard are subject to the army laws. It was not designed to be child’s play and it has grown increasingly difficult for the members to continue their work. They are not allowed to be absent from drill nights or on Sunday mornings, without permission from the commanding officer of the company, and only then for good and sufficient reasons. On Tuesday nights the Ipswich Company meets at the Town Hall, where they have regular quarters.
On each Sunday morning the members of the State Guard here are ordered to report to the Town Hall by 8:45 a. m. to tackle a new “problem,” all of which is unknown to them. By this method the members in the local company are rapidly familiarizing themselves with the terrain of this part of the country. Many of the “problems’ consist of traversing their way through dense woods, without lights, and with only a compass to guide them. Some of this is field skirmish work, and if one has an idea it is a lark they are invited to try plunging through some of the thick woods bordering Ipswich in the middle of the night, without lights.
When they return to headquarters, maps and tracings of the country they have covered are drawn up and again studied. These maps will prove of extreme value in the event of trouble here, and for future use by civilians and town officials. When the members finish “problems” covering every part of the town, they will have completed and have on file detailed maps covering substantially every foot of ground in Ipswich, concluding with a large-scale and detailed map of all Ipswich. Already the instruction given the members of the local company has shown that the methods and plans of the past could not hope to compete with the twentieth century call upon soldiers to protect life and property. The advent of the plane and paratroops has caused many methods of the past to be discarded and thrown into the limbo of forgotten things.
Intensive studies are made of the most practicable manner of scouting and defending such important points in the town as the water and light works, railroad bridges and passes, main highways and important arteries of traffic and the river. Commando tactics already taught here are methods of controlling riots, approaching and capturing points held by an invasion force, modern military methods of approaching streets with dwellings on both sides, how to dig split trenches and “fox holes.” Much of this is replete with hard laborious work, and some of it the digging of trenches.
The Ipswich Company does not plan to be any drain on town funds. It is anticipated that aid will be given by the State, and possibly by the Federal government, but when this will come is problematical. It is a heavy drain on the State fund for this purpose to furnish all proper equipment and clothing for the companies already in existence, and if the individual companies can raise some of their own funds it is a step in the right direction to lessen the load on State funds.
Right now the Ipswich Company is facing the cold weather ahead with the need of considerable winter equipment. such as overseas caps, shirts, overcoats or mackinaws, heavy trousers. overshoes. gloves, mufflers, ear-coverings, etc. Much additional equipment is needed. including ‘mess kits and cartridge belts.
One of the splendid gestures to aid the local company was the offer of a 60-acre tract of land by relatives of Sergeant Winfield S. Johnson. This has been converted into a rifle range, and is located off Pine Swamp Road on Turkey Hill. In the short time it has been in
existence it has more than proved its value, and some 13 original members of the Ipswich Company have already gone into the armed forces of the nation. These are John E. Collins.
Everett Comeau. Charles L. Bailly. Jr., Frank J. O’Malley, Donald F. Perkins, Arthur R. Reed. Roy E. Scott, Henry Manzcr and Walter E. Kraus.