December 13 recognizes the birth of the National Guard.
A component of the United States Army, the National Guard is primarily composed of citizen soldiers who hold down full-time, civilian jobs, attend school or as is often the case, both. At the same time, they are available to provide support and protection for the states’ civilians or to be called for military operations for the country.
Each U.S. state, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the territories of Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands maintain both an Army National Guard and an Air National Guard.
National Guard Mission
National Guard Soldiers serve both community and country. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counter-drug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency, helping to defend American freedom and ideals.
From before the start of the American Revolution to Hurricane Katrina and beyond, the National Guard has provided support and protection for its citizens.
HOW TO OBSERVE
While not recognized as a Federal Holiday, National Guard members across the country celebrate the birth of the oldest military organization in the United States with galas, balls and birthday parties.
Use #NationalGuardBirthday to post on social media
On December 13 of 1636, a direct declaration by the Massachusetts General Court established for the first time in the American Colonies an official militia. The resolution required that all able-bodied men from age 16 to 60 were expected to join. While less-organized militia existed at the time, this legal document brought them together under a formal establishment. This organization today is known as the National Guard.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony established three regiments designated East, South, and North. Older than the United States itself, the National Guard maintains roots in Massachusetts with the 101st Engineer Battalion (formerly East Regiment), the 101st Field Artillery (South Regiment), and the 181st Infantry and the 182nd Infantry Regiments (North Regiment).
After the United States was formed and the country grew, each state established its own militia. The term National Guard was not the official name until 1933. While National Guard was used by some states before this time, individual state militia had various titles ranging from Mississippi’s State Guard to Indiana Legion.
After World War II, the Air National Guard was created as a component of the newly established United States Airforce.
Today, approximately 350,000 men and women serve in the National Guard and the Air National Guard, 39% of the Army’s operational force.