The 182nd Infantry Regiment is a unit of the Massachusetts National Guard that has a long history in Massachusetts, America and the world. I joined while still in high school in 1950. I served in the medical unit in Charlestown and summer sessions in upstate New York. It was a Regimental Combat Unit when I served. I later went on to serve in the US Army, and my National Guard service made my life in the service much easier to adjust to.
The unit is traced back to the Pilgrims and is the oldest military unit in the United States. It was organized on October 7, 1636, from what England labeled training bands, at Charlestown, New Town (later named Cambridge), Watertown, Concord and Dedham. A reorganization was completed on March 10, 1643, as the Regiment of Middlesex, a colonial regiment operating in the American wilderness. Early on, they were developed to guard against the native Indians and fought in King Philip’s War and many other conflicts. Each militiaman was required to own a modern flintlock musket. The unit was divided into two units on October 13, 1680, and was designated as the Lower Regiment of Middlesex, including the towns Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Woburn, Malden and Reading. The other regiment of the unit was labeled the 181st Middlesex Regiment – now the 181st Infantry Regiment.
At the beginning of the American Revolution, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress ordered the activation of the Middlesex County Regiment on April 19, 1775. Then it was reorganized as the Massachusetts Army’s Gardner’s Regiment on April 23, 1775. The unit was redesignated as the 25th Continental Regiment of the Continental Army on July 1, 1775, and on January 1, 1777, as the 7th Massachusetts Regiment Continental Line, and it was mustered out of Continental service on June 12, 1783.
The unit next fought in the War of 1812; the unit was one of only 19 selected throughout America of that time as the US Army. The next duty came in the Civil War; the unit was activated on April 19, 1861, with companies of the First and Seventh Regiments, of the Infantry, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia and Major Conk’s Light Artillery Company. It fought in the First Battle of Bull Run. It served in many places during the war and was mustered out on November 16, 1864, becoming the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. They were recalled for duty during the Spanish-American War but were not involved in battle. The unit then became the Massachusetts National Guard.
The unit served in World War I in the US First Army sector in France. The 182 Second was called up for the Second World War, was sent to Melbourne, Australia, and joined a task force sent to fight in New Caledonia in the Pacific; they later fought in Bougainville, the Northern Solomons and the Battle of Leyte. They fought on many small islands and as the war ended were assigned to occupation duty in Japan.
My son-in-law, Frank McKinnon, served with the unit, the One Eighty Second, in Kosovo in 2007. The unit later served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Massachusetts National Guard has been very well equipped and has served the nation very well from colonial times up to the present battles for democracy.
(Editor’s Note: Bill Stewart – better known to Saugus Advocate readers as “The Old Sachem,” writes a weekly column about sports – and sometimes he opines on current or historical events or famous people.)