The National Guard has the distinction of being the first organized militia in the United States. The National Guard is older than the nation itself, turning 381 years old this year! Its roots are found in the history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where colonial militia were organized into three regiments. Those regiments still have descendants in the National Guard today, and have grown into National Guard units in all U.S. states as well as several U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
Thousands have given of their time and effort to stand ready to serve when needed, whether across the seas or right here at home. Often the National Guard is called on to assist in natural disaster relief. This year, the Guard assisted in natural disaster rescue and clean up in Texas and Florida after harsh hurricanes.
The National Guard plays an important role in post-Vietnam American military strategy. Once the military ended the draft and service became volunteer, the National Guard expanded its uses and duties. The Guard has since been called upon to serve in the Gulf War, Kosovo and the Iraq War, among other operations.
Today we celebrate the beginning of our oldest service. The National Guard remains trained and ready for whatever the country needs of them. They deploy to fight enemies abroad and gear up to protect us from chaos and natural disasters in our own backyards. Happy birthday to the National Guard!