The Army National Guard Birthday

The National Guard that we know today came into existence with a direct declaration on Dec. 13, 1636, when the Massachusetts General Court in Salem established that all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia.  That being said, the National Guard has proudly existed for 376 years!

Early settlement leaders decided that a proactive and ready state of mind must be kept by all citizens, particularly those training in military tactics. A civic duty, so to speak, in small villages meant that a price must be paid for the freedoms that could potentially be enjoyed, were the colony to ultimately succeed. That price meant taking responsibility for defending the settlements of the Massachusetts colony.

That same conviction and mindset still resides in the citizen-Soldiers who serve in today’s Army National Guard.  The National Guard has grown into an integrated military force, working alongside its Active Duty counterparts, yet it still retains the core characteristics that came into being on December 13, 1636. The National Guard is a community cornerstone rooted in the “rule of law across the land”. It enabled the early colonial settlers to meet the challenges of an uncertain world then as it does now.

Every December 13th, all National Guard Units across the United States hold some sort of special celebration to commemorate our superb service, deep history, tradition and time-honored values as well as remember those we have lost.  Mark your calendars! DECEMBER 13th!!!  I am sure that you will be able to find a National Guard Celebration taking place near you that you should attend.  Be proud of your service to the oldest branch of military service in our country!

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7 thoughts on “The Army National Guard Birthday”

  1. This was really interesting to read in light of the “discussion” in the media back in January of this year. Army chief of staff, Gen. Odierno basically said that regular Army and Army Reserve were not interchangeable with the National Guard. He said that the three components are complementary.

    I have to say to a certain extent, I agree with him. Years ago, all fighting took place with guns and hand-to-hand combat. You could easily learn that by training one weekend a month. However, nowadays, battles involve technology and equipment that can change within a few months. Training once a month is not sufficient to learn everything you need to know to fully function today’s Army.

    Yes, the National Guard has been amazingly useful in past conflicts, and they are still the go-to unit for individual states, but I think they might have outlived their usefulness as “replacements” for the Active-Duty Army.

  2. I appreciate learning more of the history of the guard – I had no idea how old the guard was. I’m proud of the people who formed the organization and can only imagine the work it must have taken in organizing, governing, and attending to the things that make such an organization work. And they didn’t have an internet or even a system by which they could make announcements or plan or spread the word. I admire the people who saw a job and did the work, from which they would receive no direct return. Noble people. There’s still some of them around.

    1. The thought of creating a military when there was no infrastructure, let alone phone, email or tele-communications must have been a crazy task. I’m glad we had leaders in place who understood the importance of having a militia.

  3. I did not realize that December 13 is the National Guard’s birthday. In Wyoming, it seems to come and go without so much as a sneeze. I am surprised. I think this is a significant part of the Guard’s history, and deserving of celebration. The National Guard is a tremendous part of our country’s history, and I can see where setting the time aside to note this would be worthwhile. I think sometimes soldiers forget what an honorable part of the military they are serving in.

  4. It’s amazing to know that the National Guard is older than our country! I was always proud to be part of such a time-honored tradition as the National Guard. Few organizations survive that long.

    Chuck

    1. I have always thought this was so cool – the National Guard is older than America! Our roots are the militia, and there are a lot of great lessons to be taken from that. We should all be proud of our organization.

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