1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment

Moments before moving out Capt. Jason Laackmann, Charlie Company Commander, briefs his Swedish counterpart on intended movement techniques during training Sept. 12, 2017 near Skovda, Sweden. (Minnesota National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey)
Unit Information

The 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment, is a Minnesota National Guard Army battalion headquartered in Brainerd. The overall unit mission is to provide heavy armor and mechanized infantry ground combat power to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division.

The battalion displayed its abilities during the 2015 eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise, held over the summer at Camp Ripley Training Center. The 1-194 AR (CAB) conducted and validated platoon-level armor and mechanized infantry offensive and defensive operations. For the first time, the battalion conducted Table XII platoon-level Abrams, Bradley and Scout gunnery training. Additionally, the 1-194 AR (CAB) conducted base defense, tactical logistical resupply, maintenance operations and convoy and recovery operations.

There are 6 major units in the 1-194 AR (CAB): Headquarters and Headquarters Company in Brainerd, A Company in Alexandria, B Company in East St. Paul, C Company in Sauk Centre, D Company in St. Cloud and G Company located at Camp Ripley.

The 1-194 AR (CAB) unit lineage traces back to WWII with A Company, 194th Tank Battalion. As the United States participation in the Second World War, much of America's early fighting strength came from the Army National Guard. On February 10, 1941 Brainerd's 34th Tank Company of the Minnesota National Guard, commanded by Ernest B. Miller, was federalized and ordered to Fort Lewis, Washington for training. At Fort Lewis, the Brainerd-based 34th Tank Company was combined with two National Guard tank companies from St Joseph, Missouri and Salinas, California to form the 194th Tank Battalion. Maj. Miller was appointed as the battalion commander of the 194th Tank Battalion following the formation of the new tank battalion.

Prior to leaving Fort Lewis, the 194th Tank Battalion was comprised of A Company from Brainerd, Minnesota; B Company from Saint Joseph, Missouri and C Company from Salinas, California. The 194th Tank Battalion deployed to the Philippines during the fall of 1941 in support of its defense from a possible Japanese attack. The 194th Tank Battalion became the first armored force in United States history to deploy overseas when it deployed to the Philippines to defend Manila Bay. Members of 194th Tank Battalion fought bravely during the Battle of Bataan and eventually endured the infamous Bataan Death March.

Eighty two men of the 34th Tank Company left Brainerd in 1941, 64 accompanied the 194th overseas to the Philippines. One man was wounded and evacuated, two went on to Officer Candidate School, three were killed in action, 29 died as Prisoners of War and 29 survived captivity. Of the original 64 Minnesota National Guardsmen only 32 survived to return to Brainerd after the end of WWII.

The 1-194 AR (CAB) battalion motto is "Remember Bataan ... Never Forget!"

Today, 1-194 AR (CAB) stands ready to provide personnel and equipment in support of federal, state and community missions in order to assist and/or protect the citizens of Minnesota and the United States.