Wisconsin Naval Militia

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A recruitment poster for the naval militia from 1917.

The Wisconsin Naval Militia is the currently inactive naval militia of the state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Naval Militia served as a military reserve force for the state of Wisconsin, and was organized as a naval parallel to the Wisconsin National Guard.


The Wisconsin Naval Militia was first created on 28 April 1909 when the Wisconsin Legislature authorized a naval militia consisting of one battalion of four companies.[1] The naval militia maintained units at Ashland and Bayfield until World War I.[2] By 1914, the naval militia had reached a strength of 160 men organized into three companies.[3]

In 1916, the naval militia was temporarily disbanded due to an inability of the state to procure a ship to be used for training purposes; however, new units were immediately reorganized in different parts of the state, funded with money raised by private donors.[4]

The naval militia was reorganized in 1927 with units in Milwaukee and Madison.[2]

The Wisconsin Naval Militia was officially disbanded in 1955.[5]

Legal status

The right of states to organize and maintain naval militias is recognized by the federal government of the United States under 10 U.S. Code §7851.[6] Any naval militia may receive access to vessels, material, armament, equipment, and other facilities of the Navy and the Marine Corps which are available to the Navy Reserve and the Marine Corps Reserve if 95% or more of the naval militia's manpower is recruited from the United States Navy Reserve or the United States Marine Corps Reserve.[7]

Reactivation effort

In the spring of 2001, the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs announced the findings of a year-long study which found that reactivating the Wisconsin Naval Militia would likely prove to be a cost-effective enhancement to Wisconsin's emergency medical response capability. A bill which would have reactivated the naval militia passed the assembly of the Wisconsin Legislature by a wide margin but failed in the senate. Subsequent bills intended to reactivate the naval militia have also failed.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Chapter 78: AN ACT to create sections 649m to 649u, inclusive, of the statutes, establishing a naval militia" (PDF). Wisconsin Legislature Official Website. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b Muto, Peter (June 1987). "The Wisconsin Militia". Wisconsin Academy Review. 33 (3): 32. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  3. ^ "State's Navy Ready For Service Order". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 20 April 1914. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Naval Militia Plan Growing". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 25 May 1916. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  5. ^ Millard, Pete (4 November 2001). "Terrorist threat revives proposal for Wisconsin Naval Militia". Milwaukee Business Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  6. ^ "10 U.S. CODE § 7851 - COMPOSITION". www.law.cornell.edu/. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  7. ^ "10 U.S. Code § 7854 - Availability of material for Naval Militia". Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  8. ^ Nofi, Albert A. (July 2007). "The Naval Militia: A Neglected Asset?". mmowgli.nps.edu. Center for Naval Analyses. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
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