Top 14 National Guard Facts

Recent news has hit the wires of several National Guard units being deployed to Afghanistan and other points overseas. And I saw in comments where the question was asked, “How can the Federal government deploy National Guard troops when they are supposed to be under State management?”

The answer to that question will come in #1 below. To help people understand more about the National Guard, I am going to share the top 14 National Guard facts.

If you find you have any questions or would like to add any facts, you can do so in the comment area at the end of this post.

#1: Dual Control

When a person joins the National Guard and are sworn in, he/she must swear to uphold 2 constitutions… The State and Federal. So National Guard members have duties to both their State and the Federal Government and citizens of the United States of America.

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 2 Parts

The National Guard, as we know it, consists of 2 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 unt.

#5: Minutemen

The first National Guard was State militias that consisted of 3 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, as well as…

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

Have a National Guard.

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 adjutants 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 have served in wars around the world as well as situations right here in the United States.

They are a needed military element and it is good that we have a National Guard.

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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