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Check Six – 1958: Weeknight Warriors

July 6, 2021

From the National Guard magazine website

Photograph from this National Guard magazine article

Imagine drilling one night a week — every week — after you joined the Army National Guard. Imagine becoming a citizen-soldier without going away for basic training. Imagine that OJT, rather than AIT, was how you learned your military job.

Welcome to retired Col. Frank LaBollita’s world as a recruit in the Massachusetts’s 26th Infantry Division in 1958. Boston’s imposing Commonwealth Armory was his gateway into a Guard career that, over 35 years, led LaBollita from private to full colonel and the state rank of brigadier general. He experienced significant ways in which the Guard came of age.

He was hardly alone. His generation of Guard soldiers after World War II underwent various forms of training until the Cold War spawned the need for better and uniformly trained troops caught up with the Guard beginning in the late 1950s.

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