For many people, hearing that the 1-194th Armor Regiment is known as “The Bastards” is confusing, if not downright surprising. Others may feel like the moniker is disrespectful to all of those in the unit who serve our country.
However, those in the regiment wear the moniker proudly. That’s because they know the history behind the name, and they couldn’t be prouder to be known as one of “The Bastards.”
Task Force Bastard
The 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment is the National Guard battalion out of Brainerd. Their main job is to provide support to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.
The battalion consists of 6 units. Each is headquartered in different areas: A Company is in Alexandria, B Company is in East St. Paul. C Company is in Sauk Centre, D Company is in St. Cloud, and G Company is at Camp Ripley.
Of course, the Minnesota-based Batallion has its Headquarters and Headquarter Company at Brainerd.
History of the 1-194
A Company, 194 Battalion began with its participation in WWII. The Army National Guard did a lot of the fighting in the war in the beginning.
In February 1941, the 34th Tank Company of the Minnesota National Guard, led by Ernest B. Miller, was sent to Fort Lewis for training. At Fort Lewis, they joined with a company from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Salinas, California.
Combined, they made the 194 Tank Battalion led by Maj. Miller. The company left Fort Lewis and headed to the Philippines. On top of the men from the 194th, 64 men from the 34th Tank Company went with them.
Battle of Bataan
Part of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s plan was to help Filipino forces defend Manila Bay. What the 194th did not know was that MacArthur was using them to temper the Japanese’s advance.
They fought bravely in the battle at Bataan but ultimately were hung out to dry, with no reinforcements and no supplies. The men fought as hard as they could.
After their time in the Philippines, one man was injured and evacuated, two moved on to Officer Candidate School, three died in action, and 29 died as POWs. Another 29 survived their capture. Out of the 64 Minnesota National Guardsmen, 32 went home to Brainerd when WWII was over.
The battalion’s motto is “Remember Bataan… Never Forget!” “Bastards” is a reminder of those who lost their lives.