20 Cool Facts About the Army National Guard

In today’s post, I want to share 20 cool facts about the Army National Guard that you might not know about. I found all of these facts very interesting and figured you would too.  They are listed in no particular order.

# 1 The National Guard was founded on December 13, 1636, nearly 380 years ago.  It is older than our country itself!

# 2 Prior to 1916 the National Guard was known as the state militia.  Up until that time there was nothing “national” about it.  Each militia was a state asset.

# 3 Citizen Soldiers have fought in every major conflict from 1637 until today.

# 4 There are nineteen Army National Guard units with campaign credit for the War of 1812.  

# 5 More than 60,000 Guardsmen were called to serve in Desert Storm.

# 6 The authorized strength for the Army National Guard in 2014 was just over 350,000 Soldiers.  In recent years, they have been reducing the force structure.

# 7 The Washington DC National Guard is the only federal militia in the National Guard.  It is controlled by the President.

# 8 The National Guard originally started with just three regiments, the North, East and South.

# 9 The First Militia Act of 1792 allowed the President to call up the militias in the event of a foreign invasion, in response to attacks by American Indians, and when required for the enforcement of federal law.

# 10 Approximately 140,000 Guardsmen were mobilized for the Korean War in the 1950s.

# 11 The National Guard started its dual role as a state-federal reserve force in 1933.

# 12 During the Spanish American War, many of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders were recruited from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona National Guardsmen.

# 13 Many of the most famous Civil War units were militia units.  This includes the 20th Maine Regiment at Little Round Top and Stonewall Jackson’s “foot cavalry.”  

# 14 The Army National Guard is expected to adhere to the same moral and physical standards as their “full-time” active duty and “part-time” reserve federal counterparts, event though they train one weekend a month and two weeks a year.

# 15 Three of the first five divisions to enter World War One were from the National Guard.

# 16 All 18 National Guard divisions all saw combat in World War II, and were split between the Pacific and European theatres.

# 17 Militia units made up 70% of the U.S. Army that fought the Mexican War in 1846 and 1847.

# 18 Four of the oldest units in the U.S. Army serve in the Massachusetts Arm  `y National Guard today: the 181st Infantry Regiment; the 182nd Cavalry Regiment; the 101st Field Artillery Regiment; and the 101st Engineer Battalion

# 19 The first militia companies were organized in the Plymouth Colony in 1621 and in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629 in Salem.

# 20 Most of the regiments of the Continental Army, commanded by former militia colonel George Washington, were recruited from the militia.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading these 20 cool facts about the Army National Guard.  Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me which fact you enjoy the most.  I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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10 thoughts on “20 Cool Facts About the Army National Guard”

  1. Thank you for the information. I read this article because I am in search of facts about the Guard to present to my workplace on Veterans Day. For the past 8 years, veterans are publicly recognized in a staff meeting, but Guardsmen and Reservists are not as they are not considered Veterans. I find this offensive as I served this country for 12 years as a Guardsman.

  2. I really liked this article because I do have an uncle that serves and its cool to see what he does and the history behind what he does. I thank him for his service and I thank you for yours too.

  3. History can be very interesting.

    Some years ago, I used to have a booth in an antique outlet near Lebanon, Missouri. I traded in old coins, some old cans and bottles, and other antiques I found at garage sales, auctions, and just searching through wooded areas. I worked at a metal shop and one day a friend of mine brought a huge cap-lock gun in and asked if I wanted to buy it. I paid $50 and went home with a well worn, but very cool piece of history. It had a tiger maple stock, but someone had stamped some numbers in it probably making it less valuable. I cleaned it up and put it in the antique store. The owner liked it so much, she had me put it on display near the front door. I put a price tag of $800 just on a whim (I would have rather kept it).

    The phone rang and it was the worker at the store. He handed the phone to a gentleman who was interested in the gun. He was a professor at Columbia University and he said he had a feeling about the gun. He told me he would like to do some studies, and he offered me $500 which I promptly took. Great profit on my original investment.

    About 2 months later the professor called me and said he had both bad and good news. I went with the good news first–the gun was originally a flintlock and had been converted to a cap lock. It was a Pennsylvania Militia weapon and one of only 7 known of in the world, and in the 2nd best condition.

    The bad news?

    The gun is marked priceless. He said if I would have put it with a major auction company, I may have received well over $10,000,000 for it.

    The gun was donated to the Bass Pro museum in Springfield, Missouri. It is in a beautiful display and shows a piece of one of the first National Guard companies in the United States.

  4. Theresa Williams

    This is incredibly cool. I had no idea the army national guard is older than the nation itself! Now that’s incredible. Love the fact about the Rough Riders. Living here in San Antonio, I’ve been to the bar where Teddy recruited so many of them. Great to learn more about the history of our military.

  5. This really is a cool article, I was unaware of so many of the facts on this list. It’s interesting to see that the National Guard has had quite a significant presence in so many major wars and conflicts over the past nearly 400 years. The evolution of the National Guard is also fascinating. From village and town militias, to regional militias, then to state-owned national reserves, and finally into the dual-status, state-federal National Guard that is today. I’m curious to see how the status and role of the National Guard will change in the future!

  6. There are some interesting facts on this list. I was aware the National Guard was a descendant of the state militias, but I was unaware of the amount of conflicts the National Guard was involved in. Also a nice tidbit about the 20th Maine. Watch Gettysburg people!

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