Celebrating 384 Years of Citizen-Soldiers
The National Guard was established on December 13, 1636, when the first militia regiments started organizing in Massachusetts. The modern descendants of these regiments—the 181st Infantry, 182nd Infantry, 101st Field Artillery, and 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard—are known as the oldest units in the United States military. We celebrate this beginning as the birthday of the National Guard, our oldest organized units of protection.
Founded to protect families and towns from attacks, the National Guard is a unique branch of the United States military. They help communities fight fires, floods, and hurricanes, defending our way of life during emergencies. We’re honoring the National Guard’s contributions and birthday today by taking a look at a few interesting facts about the branch.
- Within two weeks of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, over 42,000 National Guard troops from around the country were deployed for disaster relief operations.
- The current National Guard offers 130 career paths, from special forces weapons sergeant and combat engineers to paralegal specialists and band musicians.
- The National Guard has fought in every war the United States has been involved with, from 1636 to present day operations in Afghanistan.
- The term National Guard was used by a few militia units in the early 1800s in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer who fought in the Revolutionary War. It became the standardized title across all units in 1903.
- The National Guard is both a state and federal force.
- The National Guard motto is “Always Ready, Always There!”
- 500,000 National Guard soldiers have been mobilized in federal missions since September 11, 2001.
Serving both community and country, the members of the National Guard continue serving our great country while leading civilian lives at the same time. Ready and prepared to defend American freedom and ideals in the event of an emergency, it’s a privilege to be able to celebrate 384 years of the National Guard. To every National Guard member, we thank you for your dedicated service to our country and fellow citizens.