Top 14 National Guard Facts

In today’s post, my goal is to share my top 14 National Guard facts. This is good to know information for anyone thinking about joining the National Guard.

Top 14 National Guard Facts

# 1: Dual Control

When a person joins the National Guard and is sworn in, they must swear to uphold two constitutions… The State and Federal Constitution.

The Army National Guard has a unique dual mission. Domestically, it serves at a state level to protect communities here at home. The Guard’s federal mission is to support active duty military forces in responding to threats abroad and humanitarian disasters. ~ U.S. Army

# 2: How the Term National Guard Came To Be

During the American Revolution, a French officer aided the colonies by leading several militias into battle. He called these New York militias National Guard, a term they used for units in France. The term stuck thanks to Marquis de Lafayette.

# 3: The National Guard Has Two Parts

The National Guard, as we know it, consists of two parts:

  1. The Army National Guard
  2. and The Air National Guard

# 4: The Shortest Enlistment Time to be In The National Guard

If a person wants to “try out” the National Guard to see if it is the proper career move for them, the shortest enlistment time is 3 years with an additional commitment to the Individual Ready Reserve. With the IRR, you just state you will deploy if called up and you need not train monthly with a Guard unit.

# 5: Minutemen

The first National Guard was State militias that consisted of three regiments each. They were called Minutemen because they could respond quickly. The first Militia which would have been considered National Guard were established in 1636 to protect the colony of Massachusetts.

# 6: The First Air National Guard

It was in 1915 when the National Guard established an air unit. That was the 102d Rescue Squadron and was with the New York National Guard. It is considered the first and oldest Air National Guard unit. But the actual Air National Guard was not formed until the National Defense Act of 1947 separated the Army and Air Force which also separated the Army and Air National Guard.

# 7: 54 National Guard Entities

Each of the 50 states, plus the following territories, all have a National Guard.

  • The District of Columbia,
  • Guam,
  • The Virgin Islands,
  • and Puerto Rico

All are controlled by the National Guard Bureau which is a jointly controlled bureau run by the United States Army and Air Force.

The Army National Guard is community-based and reports to the governor of its respective state unless called to protect U.S. domestic interests in times of conflict or natural disaster. They may also be deployed internationally alongside full-time service members when necessary. Today’s National Guard fields troops from all U.S. states and territories. Each unit operates independently. Members of the National Guard hold civilian jobs or attend school while conducting their military training part time. ~ Today’s Military

# 8: To Join The National Guard

There are certain things you must have to join the National Guard:

  • Be between 18 and 35 years old
  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass the ASVAB and a physical fitness exam
  • And, you must pass Basic Training just as full time Army personnel do.

# 9: Person In Charge At The State Level

While the President of the United States acts through the Secretary of Defense to control military at the Federal level, at the State level, the State Governor acts through the State Adjutant General, which is a senior military officer who has full charge of that particular State’s National Guard.

# 10: Presidents Who Served In The National Guard

Out of all the Presidents the United States have had, only 2 have served in the National Guard. They were:

  1. Harry Truman
  2. and George W. Bush

# 11: The Reserve

Reserve units are not, in any way, affiliated with the National Guard. They are affiliated only with the branch they are associated with… Army – Army Reserves, Navy – Navy Reserves, etc…

# 12: Certain Professionals Can Get A Direct Officer Commission

Some people have attended years of school to become Doctors, Lawyers, etc… In some cases, if a person has at least a Bachelor of Science degree, he/she can be directly commissioned as an officer in the National Guard.

# 13: The Oldest Units In The United States Military

It is once National Guard units who carry the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military. I speak of the

# 14: Fact Sheet Of How The National Guard May, Or May Not Be Used

There are a number of conspiracies floating around the internet on how a President could use the National Guard to essentially “make his position a dictatorship.

I completely disagree with these conspiracies and anyone who does believe them should do their online research.

Final Thoughts

Members of National Guard units served in wars around the world as well as situations right here in the United States. They are an important military element. What do you think?

Post all comments below and if you are a member of a National Guard unit, give a “shout out” for your unit… Your team. Thank you for your service to the United States as a member of the National Guard.

Other posts you may enjoy:
  1. Top 10 Famous National Guard Units
  2. 24 Facts About Army National Guard Special Forces
  3. Understanding The Civilian Employer And The National Guard Duty Relationship
  4. Military Career Tips
  5. Alabama Army National Guard: 28 Cool Facts
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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