Today the National Guard celebrates it’s 376th Birthday. The Guard has changed a lot in the thirty-plus years since I joined when their annual training was was a two week kegger.
The military organization we know today as the National Guard came into existence with a direct declaration on December 13, 1636. On this date, the Massachusetts General Court in Salem, for the first time in the history of the North American continent, established that all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia. The North, South, and East Regiments were established. The decree excluded ministers and judges. Simply stated, Citizen-Soldiers who mustered for military training could be and would be called upon to fight when needed.
The National Guard has grown into a worldwide military force, yet it still retains the core characteristics that came into being on December 13, 1636. It is a community cornerstone rooted in the rule of law across the land. It enabled the early colonial settlers to meet the challenges of an uncertain world then as it does now. The National Guard will continue to be always ready and always there for the citizens that it serves.