By George Morris
In 1943, with World War II in the middle of its fury, Louisiana’s National Guard had been called into active Army service.
As necessary as a militia can be in peacetime, the Guard’s absence was especially acute in a state whose ports and refineries were vital cogs in the homefront war machine.
So, when Gov. Sam Jones announced the formation of the Louisiana State Guard, a force to fill the National Guard’s mission in its absence, little recruiting needed to be done, even though the State Guard would serve without pay.
“It was still one of those times where you had all of the motivation,” said JoPaul Steiner, who joined. “You wanted to serve your country. You wanted to do anything you could.”
Little did they know at the time what that would mean.