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Newspaper Page Text
MILITIA EXPOSED MISMANAGEMENT SEEN
AS BOYS OF RANK AND FILE ANSWER CALL
BY F. M. KERBY
Washington, July 3. Woeful mis
management of the state militia of
the country is revealed by the call for
national guardsmen to go to the
The brave boys of the rank and file
answered the call, but troop move
ments were delayed because the mi
Short of uniforms.
Short of shoes.
Short of equipment.
Cavalry is without horses.
Artillery is without guns.
Engineers are without wagons.
And there is information on file
here that from Jan. 1, 1912, to June
30, 1915, property valued at $1,352,
761.14 furnished by the U. S. gov't to
the national guard disappeared.
And all this, in time of crisis, de
spite the fact that in 1914 the war
dep't issued a circular notifying the
state authorities that the men of the
militia must be equipped up to the
minimum of requirements, that is,
that they must have at least one uni
form and complete outfit of rifle and
Following this notification, the 1915
inspection showed that just one state
Washington was uniformed and
equipped as prescribed.
Upon being notified that federal
funds would be withheld during the
fiscal year of 1916, unless the de
fects were remedied, 38 states has
tened to provide this minimum equip
ment Whatever other sins the regular
army may have to answer for, it can
not be charged with inefficiency in
handling the militia. The men in the
militia ranks and, in a large part,
the officers in command, are earnest
in the purposes to serve the country.
They are not responsible.
Commenting on the reports of reg
ular army inspectors, directed to
make actual accounts of all federal
property in the possession of the
state troops, Gen. A. L. Mills, chief
of militia affairs, says:
"The figures proved beyond doubt
that a majority of state property ac- I )
counts contained no information
whatever beyond a mere statement
of accountability. The returns were
without value for any other purpose.
"The authorities of the organized
militia of many states have for years
simply failed and neglected to take
adequate measures to cause their
accountability to agree with the ac
tual state of the property."
The war dep't found some of these
conditions to be the result of years
of mismanagement by politicians
long out of office.
Accordingly, there was nothing to
do but to drop Irom the property ac
counts material valued at $495,
867.83. Where this procedure could not be
followed the department allowed
these long-standing shortages to be
dropped from the current return and
carried on a separate list.
In 1913 twelve states took advan
tage of this, and in 1914 the number
has increased to twenty-two, with
but one state (Illinois) clearing up
Matters were going from bad to
worse, so the department announced
tha1 this privilege would terminate
June 30, 1915. As a result, some of
the states managed to "find" the lost
property, and $58,063.81 was recov
ered or the loss satisfactorily ac
counted for. rl
But the state officials got busy, with
congress, asking for legislative ac
tion granting them "relief" from this
shortage, and the governors of at
least two states appealed to the sec
retary of war, asking that the charge
for the property loss be not made, as
such action would have a disastrous
i effect on. their militia,