National Guard Fast Facts

On December 13, 1636, after growing tensions with the Pequot tribe, the Massachusetts Bay Colony organized three militia regiments to defend the colony. This organization marks the earliest iteration what would become the United States National Guard. Presently, the National Guard boasts a roster of more than 350,000 service members.

A few facts about the National Guard:

  • The U.S. National Guard is actually older than the U.S. Army. The Army wasn’t formed until the Revolutionary War in 1775.
  • The National Guard is one of the largest components of the U.S. Armed Forces, second only to the U.S. Army.
  • During the American Revolution, the name bestowed upon those who acted in a fashion which mirrors the current National Guard was… minutemen! Their name was based on their ability to react and respond quickly when needed.
  • Descendants of the three original regiments still exist today. They are the 181st Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. And remember, because of their history they are the oldest component of the U.S. Armed Forces!
  • The term “National Guard” can be traced back to the Marquis de Lafayette, on an 1824 visit to the United States.
  • Two U.S. Presidents have served in the National Guard: Harry S. Truman and George W. Bush.
  • In 1963, President John F. Kennedy mobilized the National Guard to Alabama after the state’s governor defied newly enacted desegregation laws.
  • Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, more than 50,000 National Guard troops were called in to assist in the relief.
  • The Air Defense System which protects Washington D.C., known as Combat Air Patrols, are mainly a National Guard and Reserve responsibility.
  • Every U.S. war since 1637 has been fought in part by the National Guard.
  • About half of the troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq post-9/11 were from the National Guard and National Guard Reserves.
  • The National Guard was the first to create an African-American unit, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers. The unit was established during the Civil War and also yielded the first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor, Sgt. William Carney.
  • Most branches of the U.S. military swear to uphold just the federal constitution, but the National Guard service members also swear to uphold their respective state’s constitution.

Posted on December 12 2018 in Blog

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