Essex Troop

Pennsylvania Avenue

President Woodrow Wilson's inaugural parade in March 1913 was highlighted by the appearance of the Essex Troop, a New Jersey National Guard cavalry unit from Newark. The Essex Troop was the parent outfit of the New Jersey Army National Guard’s 102nd Cavalry.

Judge Advocate General

Soldiers First, Lawyers Always

Judge Advocate General
In 1775, President George Washington established the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG Officer), making it the oldest law firm in the United States. Today there are about 500 JAG officers in the Guard who not only protect our rights and laws, but also advise and defend our Soldiers.

JAG Corps officers investigate, prosecute and defend those charged with crimes in the military, provide legal advice for Soldiers and work with international contracts. As an officer in the JAG Corps and a practicing attorney or judge, your responsibilities will cover a wide range of practices including military law, criminal prosecution, international law and legal assistance, both in the U.S. and abroad. The JAG Corps deals in all the same areas of law as civilian practices, making the transition to a civilian legal career effortless. You will be able to have varied and developmental practice opportunities during your JAG career:
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Assistance
  • Civil Litigation
  • Administrative Law
  • Labor Law
  • International Law
  • Operational Law
  • Medical Law
  • Contract Law

JAG Eligibility Requirements
In order to become a JAG officer, you will need to meet the following requirements:
  • Have graduated from an ABA-approved law school (third-year law students may apply)
  • Been admitted to the Bar and serve in the National Guard of the same state
  • Be mentally and physically fit
  • Be of good moral standing and character
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Receive a security clearance
  • At least 21 years old and:
  • for appointment as a 1LT, younger than 33
  • for appointment as a CPT, younger than 39 (waiverable)

JAG Officer Training Requirements
Direct Commissioned Officer Course: A six-week course focusing on initial officer education and training requirements.
JAG Basic Officer Leadership Course: An 11-week Military and Operational Law Course

Origins of the Judge Advocate Generals Corps

In 1775, only a few days after assuming duties as commander-in-chief of the new army, GEN George Washington insisted that the Continental Congress appoint a lawyer to help with the many courts-martial being conducted. Congress acceded, and a "judge advocate," William Tudor, joined Washington's staff. This appointment of Tudor heralded the birth of a corps of lawyers and legal specialists that is today known as The Judge Advocate General's Corps. By 1776, this Army lawyer, known as the "Judge Advocate General," was personally conducting trials before courts-martial and other military tribunals. He acted not only as prosecutor, but also as legal adviser to the court and as "friend" of the accused.

While GEN Washington wanted a judge advocate to oversee the administration of military justice, his concerns also reflected the larger debate about justice and legal authority that was fueling the American Revolution. The new Nation envisioned by the Founding Fathers was a bold social and political experiment: the 'Rule of Law' would replace the 'Divine Right of Kings.' This Rule of Law was grounded in respect: government would respect individual rights and freedoms, and in return, individuals would respect the government's obligation to regulate and enforce standards of behavior. It is the Rule of Law, in both civilian life and in the military, that ensures Order, Justice, and Equality.

In any event, since the Revolution, the American Army has had its own lawyers - who assist commanders in enforcing Army standards and reinforcing Army values. Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage thrive when soldiers know that they will be treated equally, and that rules and regulations apply to all, regardless of rank or assignment. And judge advocates have always played a critical role in ensuring that these standards and values are obeyed.

More Information

For more information about JAG opportunities in the New Jersey Army National Guard please contact our JAG Recruiter or visit the Army JAG Corps website at

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