RG 90: Company No. 7: Virginia Reserve Militia, 1941-1980
Collection NumberRG 90
HistoryIn 1941, the Virginia Protective Force (VPF) formed to aid citizens during national emergencies. If the National Guard had been called into service, the VPF would have assumed the local responsibilities usually handled by the Guard. Arlington formed a VPF unit of twenty-five men on December 23, 1941. By February 26, 1942, the unit counted forty-eight men and two officers. The VPF unit in Arlington served as a precursor to the county’s later Virginia Reserve Militia unit.
The Virginia Reserve Militia units had much of the same responsibilities as the VPF except that the militia would respond to international threats on American soil. In 1942, the governor of Virginia, Colgate Darden, authorized the Reserve Militia Program. Darden authorized these militia units to fill the gap in the National Defense Plan. The roster consisted of local United States citizens who owned firearms and knew how to use them. Membership was open to men ages 17-65. Membership criteria included being in good physical condition, furnishing your own weapons, ownership or access to a vehicle, and the willingness to purchase a uniform.
The first call for a Reserve Militia in Arlington County came on June 30, 1942, at a meeting of the Arlington/Fairfax chapter of the Isaac Walton League. At the meeting on August 31, 1942, in addition to the conversations at several previous meetings, Arlington County mustered into service Company No. 7. The Company began with three officers and forty-six men. Samuel P. Vanderslice served as Company Captain and he would remain captain for the duration of the Company’s existence. Vanderslice, a former principal of Washington Lee High School, was at the time of his appointment the registrar for Strayer College in Washington D.C.
From the beginning, Company No. 7 always actively sought recruits. The ultimate objective was to organize three platoons. Toward this effort, the Company supported four recruitment tents located in Clarendon, Cherrydale, Courthouse, and Virginia Highlands.
The militia participated in drills, combat tactics, rifle instruction, alert and quick assembly practice, and battalion field trips. With these preparations, the Company planned to be ready for a possible attack by Germany and spearhead the defense of the lives and property of Arlington residents. Fortunately, the Germans did not attack America, and on September 15, 1945 after more than three years in service Company No. 7 disbanded. At any one time the Company averaged approximately eighty men and four officers.
Scope and ContentThe material in RG 90 is dated 1941-1980. It includes reports made to the state's Division of Military Affairs, a complete set of enlistment forms of all recruits, which includes descriptive information on all enlistees, and general correspondence, notes, and memoranda dealing with the regular activities of the company. This miscellaneous material has been placed in a single file. The only document in the collection that does not date from the 1940s is a copy of Samuel Vanderslice’s obituary from 1980. This collection measures .21 linear feet.
Arrangement and DescriptionThe material in RG 90 is arranged into two series. The first contains two artifacts, and the other is manuscript material.
ProvenanceEdward Fenwick donated this collection in 1999. The original donation included 26 undated photographs of different classes at Washington Lee High School. The photographs have been relocated to PG 200 and placed with the other school photographs.
RestrictionsThis collection has no restrictions.
Related CollectionsRG 135, Arlington Air Raid Warden Service Records, has documentation on another local Arlington defense group created in response to World War II. RG 27, Personal Papers of Beulah Shipley Goss, contains records related to the Arlington War Rationing Board from the same time period.