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    • National Guard Celebrates 385th Birthday


      The youngest and oldest Guardsmen of the New York National Guard celebrate a cake cutting ceremony on the National Guard's birthday.

      Photo credit: US Army


      Today the National Guard celebrates its birthday, marking 385 years of service to our nation.

      The lineage of the National Guard go back to colonial Massachusetts. On December 13, 1636, authorities organized the first colonial militia, comprised of three infantry regiments.

      Successor units of those first militia stand today as part of the Massachusetts National Guard.

      Serving as part of US Army and US Air Force Reserve systems, National Guardsmen and women act as members of both their respective state militia and the federal militia. Most serve part-time in the Guard while working full-time in their civilian jobs.

      Elements of the National Guard can be activated during wartime in order to support active US Army and US Air Force units. They can also be activated by civilian federal and state authorities to serve during state and national emergencies, including natural disasters.

      Throughout our country’s history, Soldiers of the National Guard have served with distinction. Guardsmen fired the first shots of the American Revolution at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, campaigned in the War of 1812, served in the Mexican-American War, provided the bulk of the initial US forces to fight in the American Civil War, and carried on into the Spanish-American War.

      In the 20th Century, state militia units were federally reorganized and officially named the National Guard. In the decades to come, hundreds of thousands of Guardsmen were mobilized to serve in World War I, World II, the Korean War, the Gulf War, and numerous smaller conflicts.

      Recently, Guard units have also served during the War of Terrorism with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Likewise, National Guard units have also provided security and support during many domestic emergencies, including the aftermath blizzards, fires, civil unrest, the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina.

      Looking ahead, the US Army and Air National Guards are training their forces to face the challenges to come. Prepared to serve both on the home front and overseas, our nation’s Guardsmen and women stand ready.

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