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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The National Guard, the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation's longest-enduring institutions, celebrated its 373rd birthday on December 13, 2009. The National Guard traces its history back to the earliest English colonies in North America. Responsible for their own defense, the colonists drew on English military tradition and organized their able-bodied male citizens into militias.
Following World War II, National Guard aviation units, some of them dating back to World War I, became the Air National Guard, the nation's newest Reserve component. The Guard stood on the frontiers of freedom during the Cold War, sending soldiers and airmen to fight in Korea and to reinforce NATO during the Berlin crisis of 1961-1962. During the Vietnam war, almost 23,000 Army and Air Guardsmen were called up for a year of active duty; some 8,700 were deployed to Vietnam. Over 75,000 Army and Air Guardsmen were called upon to help bring a swift end to Desert Storm in 1991.
Since that time, the National Guard has seen the nature of its Federal mission change, with more frequent call ups in response to crises in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the skies over Iraq. Most recently, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, more than 50,000 Guardmembers were called up by both their States and the Federal government to provide security at home and combat terrorism abroad. In the largest and swiftest response to a domestic disaster in history, the Guard deployed more than 50,000 troops in support of the Gulf States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Today, tens of thousands of Guardmembers are serving in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the National Guard continues its historic dual mission, providing to the states units trained and equipped to protect life and property, while providing to the nation units trained, equipped and ready to defend the United States and its interests, all over the globe.
A belated happy birthday to the National Guard and God bless America's brave men and women of the National Guard who are "always ready and always there" to protect and serve our nation on it's shores and abroad.For more information on the National Guard please visit it's website at http://www.ng.mil/.