December 13, 2021, marks the 385th birthday of the National Guard.
On this date in 1636, “the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts,” as the Guard itself notes on its website.
Here’s more detail from the same source as well as the National Guard celebrates its birthday and is recognized and appreciated for all its hard work to protect and defend our country, including during the very toughest of times.
—Based on an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court, the colony’s militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony.
—Today, the descendants of these first regiments — the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard — share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military.
—So December 13, 1636, marks the beginning of the organized militia. The birth of the National Guard’s oldest organized units is symbolic of the founding of all the state, territory, and District of Columbia militias that collectively make up today’s National Guard.
And to the question, “So how can the Army National Guard be older than the Army?” here’s the deeper-dive explanation.
“Our ability to recognize December 13, 1636, as the organization date of the oldest Army National Guard units is based in law,” the Guard explains. “The Militia Act of May 8, 1792, permitted militia units organized before the May 8, 1792, to retain their ‘customary privileges.’”
It continues, “This provision of the militia act was perpetuated by the Militia Act of 1903, the National Defense Act of 1916, and by subsequent law.”
The National Guard has changed a lot since its founding — and as a chief of the National Guard told “Fox & Friends” a few years ago during an earlier birthday celebration, “We’re proud of who we are … We’re deployed all over the world.”
He added, “We protect the homeland and we build partnerships all over the world.”
The group’s reach and work can be seen and felt from coast to coast and far beyond.
Share your birthday wishes and thoughts on the National Guard in the comments section below.