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National Guard Birthday

National Guard Birthday. Always Ready. Always There.

They're not just weekend warriors.

In a move that would create the first militia on the North American continent, the Massachusetts General Court in Salem issued an order on Dec. 13, 1636, requiring all able-bodied men between 16 and 60 years old to create a standing Army for protection.

With that order, what we now know as America's National Guard was born. The idea was simple: Establish an Army of citizen-soldiers who could be called upon to fight when needed. 

READ: 2017 Birthday Message to the National Guard

In 1636, that meant defending Massachusetts Bay. Today, it means answering the call of both state and nation, deploying overseas and responding to natural disasters in the assistance of friends and neighbors.

The men and women of the Army and Air National Guards train regularly, generally two days a month with a longer training annually.

That training means they are ready at any moment to join our active-duty forces overseas or to put their civilian lives on standby to do their state's bidding at home.

Service for the Guard may not a full-time job, but its demands require a lifestyle of commitment and sacrifice.

The National Guard today stands as a community cornerstone, just as it did in 1636.  

America's National Guard in Action

  • A route clearance team with the Florida National Guard’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Emergency Response Force-Package search several vessels shipwrecked by Hurricane Irma, and left abandoned along the shoreline at Naval Air Station Key West. (Army National Guard/Carmen Fleischmann)
  • U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Streeter of Newton, Iowa, and a Soldier with Troop B, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Redhorse, scans a nearby hilltop during a search of the Qual-e Jala village. (U.S. Army/Ashlee Lolkus)
  • Sgt. Allison Catic, Company A, 248th Aviation Support Battalion, 67th Troop Command, Iowa Army National Guard, embraces her children following the unit’s send-off ceremony at Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Sept. 29, 2017. (U.S. Army National Guard/Tawny Schmit)
  • The North Carolina National Guard's 145th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) Small Air Terminal team stands in the Caribbean sunset during their mission to the U.S Virgin Islands. (North Carolina National Guard)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airmen with the New Jersey Air National Guard's 227th Air Support Operations Squadron, train with their Special Patrol Infiltration Exfiltration System (SPIES) at Coyle Drop Zone, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. (New Jersey National Guard/Mark C. Olsen)
  • Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team greet spectators along the parade route during the annual Albany Veterans Day Parade, November 11, 2017, in Albany, Oregon.  (Oregon Military Department Public Affairs/April Davis)
  • Texas National Guard soldiers conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas 27 August, 2017. (Texas National Guard/Zachary West)
  • The mess crew was the first to wake on Day 2 of the Minnesota National Guard's 347th Regional Support Group’s annual training at Camp Ripley Training Center on Aug. 6, 2017. Never under-appreciated, the dedicated crew is (to the delight of all) providing two hot field meals each and every day for the nearly 270 Soldiers currently occupying Tactical Assembly Area Victory. (Courtesy photo)
  • Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers work together during a wild land fire field training exercise held at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards (DPSST) and Training in Salem, Oregon, August 28, 2017. (Oregon Military Department/Leslie Reed.)
  • Staff Sgt. Class Richard Call, of the New Jersey National Guard, and members of New Jersey Task Force 1, assist evacuees into a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) to during water rescue operations in Wharton, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. (Air National Guard/ Robert Shelley)
Scene from the National Guard