Kentish Guards

Rhode Island Historic Militia
Chartered October 29th, 1774

20th Century to Present

Kentish Guardsmen have since participated in all the major wars of the twentieth century in federal service. During World War I, three members of the company were lost fighting in France. During both World War I and World War II, the guard served on the home front as well helping in recruiting, blood drives and civil defense. On call for local emergencies, Guardsmen patrolled the hurricane-damaged waterfront in 1938 and 1956, and controlled traffic during the town's tercentennial in 1977. They were most recently activated by the Governor in 1994 for ceremonial duties connected with the commissioning of the USS Rhode Island.

Today the Guard continue under their charter and the laws of the state of Rhode Island and are a ceremonial unit for the state of Rhode Island, serving at state functions and events along with marching in parades. The Guards supported the 350th Charter Gala Ceremony at the state house for the 350th anniversary of the granting of the Colonial Charter of 1663 by King Charles II of England. Present were Governor Chaffee and the Chief British Consul from Boston. The Guard provided Color Detail and Guard Duty, and the Fife and Drum Corp played both National Anthems. The Guards are subject to Rhode Island law and its good regulation, including inspection by the Rhode Island National Guard Adjutant General and under the command of the Governor.

Fife and Drum Corps
The Fife & Drum Corps is the field music for The Independent Company of Kentish Guards. In 1774 the Kentish Guards had 2 fifers and 2 drummers, as befitting a company sized group of 100 or so men. Over time, the instrumentation took on several forms, and was formally reorganized into a regimental sized fife & drum corps in 1966. The Kentish Guards Fife and Drum Corps is recognized as one of the leading corps in the nation.

There are only four Fife and Drum Corps in the United States that are a part of actual military organizations. The Kentish Guards and Pawtuxet Rangers in Rhode Island, the Second Company Governor's Foot Guards in Connecticut, and The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps at Fort Myer, Virginia.

The Corps has performed throughout New England, participating in the Lewis & Clark Festival in St. Charles, Missouri and the Drummer’s Call in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. They have traveled to Greenfield Village, Michigan; Savannah, Georgia; and Galway and Doolin, Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day parades. The Corps has made several trips to Switzerland, including performances at Basel, Brugg, Lugano, and Rheinfelden. 

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