Taking a look around Bakersfield today, you would probably never guess that it was a place that once upon a time had its own National Guard. But it is true. Picture this! A California full of thrills and danger that lurked around every corner!
Well, maybe it wasn’t that bleak, but if you were to check the annals of military history, our own Company G of the 6th Infantry was a rather impressive one, and they were known for both engaging in our community as well as protecting citizens from potential race riots!
According to local historian Gilbert Gia, H.A. Blodget formed the Sons of Veterans, a group that was destined to become the strong arm of Company G. In the picture above, you see them standing in front of the Armory Hall, which was located at 1917 H St. back in 1904. Militarymuseum.org, however, paints a different picture of these brave men. According to their official records, Company G impressed all over the state, and when there was a job that needed handling, they were present and ready for action.
The reports read, “Three months after organization, September 1893, Company G was called into service in connection with the threatened riot between the whites and the Chinese in Redlands.” Our boys were ready for action, and appeared in front of the Judge of Kern County for one week. Though the riot threats ended up being just that, they were still eager to protect and serve, as needed. The records go on to detail that the Company was instrumental in protecting the railroads during the strikes in 1904, reporting to Stockton with “forty rounds of ball cartridges and five days rations per man.” They ended up staying 22 days, and after the strike was over, they escorted the first train to travel from Bakersfield to Oakland.
While they were sure to participate in local parades and firing squads for special events, they were also recognized by our government for their considerable increases in efficiency. This may be part of why they “were mustered into the Federal Service” May 11, 1898, to help with the war with Spain. They stayed in the Benicia barracks and served bravely until December 15 of that year.
Eventually, Company G became Company L, 2nd Infantry, in order to comply with an act of Congress, but they were still seen to be very devoted to both the needs of our county and beyond. It is clear that our community has always displayed excellence while never backing down from a challenge—a trait that stays strong with us to this day.