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A talk focuses on Wyoming National Guard’s involvement in the Philippine-American War

Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum

The Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum in Casper is hosting an event on Thursday, Sept. 15 that discusses the involvement of Wyoming National Guard troops in the Philippine-American War in 1898-99. It’s part of a wider speaker series that brings historical and military topics to the public’s attention as well as the role the state’s veterans played in them.

Dr. Mark Johnson will be the speaker. He’s a contract historian for the Wyoming National Guard, Senior Army Instructor for the Junior ROTC (JROTC) at Natrona County High School and retired career U.S. Army officer.

“[Dr. Johnson] is in the process of writing a more or less comprehensive history of both the Wyoming Army and Wyoming Air National Guard and his research as part of that book project is what's being featured in our presentation in September, at least in part,” said John Woodward, Director of Museums for the Wyoming Military Department.

Wyoming’s National Guard, initially established in 1870 during the territorial era, was first federally mobilized during the Spanish-American War.

“We wanted to make the public more aware of the history of the impact that the Guard has played, starting with the Spanish-American War, which was the first time that a cohesive Wyoming unit served in America's Armed Forces,” he added. “It's a very special and a very interesting time. And it's something that most Wyomingites aren't familiar with.”

Woodward said part of Johnson’s work focuses on this period as well as more broadly.

“His task is to research and write a comprehensive history of the Wyoming National Guard both Army and Air components from its inception in 1870, to the present day,” he explained.

TheSpanish-American War took place between April and August 1898 and featured the U.S. gaining control over former Spanish controlled territories in the western Pacific and Latin America.

ThePhilippine-American War took place from 1899-1902 and involved the U.S. and Filipino revolutionaries. It began after the U.S. took control of the country after the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War. Spain previously ruled over the Philippines as a colonial possession since 1565.

The forces that served during these two conflicts were part of theWyoming Volunteer Infantry Battalion. It was largely made up of volunteers that drew heavily from the Wyoming National Guard. They served in the Philippines for a total of 494 days before the unit was deactivated in 1899.

The museum’s speaker series began in January and has hosted events quarterly. The next event will take place in December.

Dr. Johnson’s talk will also be streamed via the museum’sFacebook page.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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