December 13th commemorates the National Guard Birthday.
A component of the United States Army (Air Guard), the National Guard is primarily composed of citizen-soldiers who hold down full-time, civilian jobs, attend school, or as is often the case, both. At the same time, they are available to provide support and protection for the states’ civilians or be called for military operations at a national level.
Each U.S. state, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands maintain both an Army National Guard and an Air National Guard.
National Guard Mission:
National Guard Soldiers serve both community and country. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counter-drug efforts, reconstruction missions, and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength, and efficiency, helping to defend American freedom and ideals.
From before the American Revolution to Hurricane Katrina and beyond, the National Guard has provided support and protection for its citizens.
On December 13 of 1636, a direct declaration by the Massachusetts General Court established an official militia for the first time in the American Colonies. The resolution required all able-bodied men (and now women) from age 16 to 60 to join. While less-organized militia existed, this legal document brought them together under a formal enterprise. We know this organization today as the National Guard.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony established three regiments designated East, South, and North. Older than the United States itself, the National Guard maintains these roots in Massachusetts. The regiments include the 101st Engineer Battalion (formerly East Regiment), the 101st Field Artillery (South Regiment), and the 181st Infantry, and the 182nd Infantry Regiment (North Regiment).
After the United States formed and the country grew, each state established a militia. However, Congress did not make the name National Guard official until 1933. When Congress amended the National Defense Act, they made the National Guard a separate component of the United States Army. While some states used the term National Guard before this time, individual state militia had various titles. Two examples include the Mississippi State Guard and the Indiana Legion.
After World War II, the newly established United States Airforce established the Air National Guard.
Today, approximately 350,000 men and women serve in the National Guard and the Air National Guard, 39% of the Army’s operational force.
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