Kentucky Active Militia

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Kentucky Active Militia
Active 1941-1947
Country  United States
Allegiance  Kentucky
Type SDFBranchInsigniaColor.jpg  State defense force
Role Military reserve force
Civilian leadership Governor Keen Johnson
Governor Simeon S. Willis

The Kentucky Active Militia was the official state defense force of Kentucky during World War II. It was created to assume the stateside duties of the Kentucky National Guard while the National Guard was in federal service.[1]


During World War I, the state of Kentucky passed legislation allowing for the state to maintain troops other than the National Guard; four companies of State Guard were raised to replace the Kentucky National Guard while it was deployed.[2]

During World War II, the Kentucky Active Militia was created by the Kentucky Active Militia Law, signed by Governor Keen Johnson. The Kentucky Active Militia was responsible for assuming the stateside duties of the Kentucky National Guard. This included policing the Kentucky Derby. Kentucky Active Militia members were armed with two foot long strips of rubber hose and given crowd control responsibilities.[3] By 1944, the Kentucky Active Militia had a strength of 1,674 men.[2]

Legal status

The authority of each state to maintain its own state defense force is recognized by the federal government of the United States under Title 32, Section 109 of the United States Code.[4] Approximately twenty-three states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico currently maintain state defense forces.[5] Under Kentucky law, the Governor of Kentucky has the legal authority to activate the state defense force, to be known as the Kentucky State Defense Force, whenever any part of the Kentucky National Guard is in federal service.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Klotter, James C. (5 February 2015). Our Kentucky: A Study of the Bluegrass State. University Press of Kentucky. p. 150. 
  2. ^ a b Tulenko, Thomas; Chase, Bradley; Dupuy, Trevor N.; Hayes, Grace P. (March 1981). "US Home Defense Force Study" (PDF). Historical Evaluation and Research Organization. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "The War Years, 1941-1946: Kentucky Active Militia at the Derby" (PDF). Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "32 U.S. Code § 109 - Maintenance of other troops". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Carafano, James Jay; Brinkerhoff, John R. (October 5, 2005). "Katrina's Forgotten Responders: State Defense Forces Play a Vital Role". Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "37.170 Kentucky State Defense Force -- Organization -- Reorganization". Kentucky General Assembly. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
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