380 years ago today, Massachusetts became the first state in North America to organize militia regiments. These are now known as the oldest organized units of the U.S. National Guard (and even the oldest units of all the U.S. military). What were known then as the North, East, and South Regiments evolved over the years into what we now call the 101st Field Artillery, the 181st and 182nd Infantries, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. So 380 years after the first citizen-soldiers took up the responsibility to defend the settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, we say happy birthday to the United States National Guard!
5 Things You Might Not Know about the National Guard
The National Guard has been around for hundreds of years, but even so, you probably didn’t know these 5 facts about this reserve military force:
- The term “national guard” was not officially used to describe the organization until 1916. In fact, during the American Revolution, members of the National Guard were called Minutemen because they were so quick to respond to a call of service.
- During the 9/11 attacks, around 50,000 National Guard members were called to various missions.
- The U.S. Army is the only U.S. military branch with more members than the National Guard.
- All territories of the U.S. have a National Guard except American Samoa.
- The Army National Guard is older than the Army. Regiments of the National Guard were formed in 1636 but the United States Army wasn’t officially formed until the start of the Revolutionary War. The Air Force National Guard is the same age as the Air Force.
How the National Guard Is Organized Today
Part of celebrating the National Guard is understanding how it works and is organized. The National Guard Bureau administers the Guard, and this bureau is managed by both the Army and Air Force under the Department of Defense. Each state has its own National Guard units stationed there, and so do three U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. Interestingly, the unit in D.C. operates under the president of the United States himself (or a designee). At any time of national emergency or war, units of the National Guard are mobilized into active duty in order to supplement regular military forces. But Guard units can also be called into active duty in case of emergency in their respective states whenever the governor declares it.
There are over 100 National Guard jobs available, and you can easily contact the National Guard recruiter in your state to learn more about getting started by visiting your state’s National Guard website.
Celebrating the National Guard Birthday
All across the nation, members of the National Guard celebrate this day with various parties, balls, and galas. For example, each year on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., many festivities take place, including cutting a celebration birthday cake. You can even participate in celebrating the National Guard’s Birthday by using #NationalGuardBirthday on social media. Here at Low VA Rates, we want to wish the United States National Guard a happy birthday! To read more about the Guard, check out other articles on our blog.