Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy 375th Birthday National Guard!

Today, the National Guard celebrates its 375th birthday. On behalf of the Air Force Association, we would like to commend the men and women of the National Guard for centuries of dedication. The National Guard has done an indispensable service to this nation, more than ever in the past decade responding to natural disasters and terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Known originally as the militia, the National Guard predates the Declaration of Independence as well as the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The military organization we know today as the National Guard was established with a direct declaration on December 13, 1636, when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia. The goal was to increase the militias' accountability to the colonial government and responsiveness in conflicts with indigenous Native Americans.

Due to the changing threat environment that now includes more asymmetrical dangers and threatens our homeland, the roles of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard have changed extensively, with significant numbers of guardsmen having seen combat now in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

And after 375 years, the Guard’s contribution to the nation’s defense has remained paramount.