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Celebrating 380 Years of Valor
On Dec. 13, the Guard celebrates its 380th birthday. Its grand history could fill volumes. Here’s a quick tour through the ages.
December 13, 1636
The first regiments of pre-existing militia companies are formed by declaration in colonial Massachusetts.
April 19, 1775
Militiamen stand their ground against the British at Lexington and Concord as the American Revolution begins.
September 13, 1814
Maryland militiamen help defend Fort McHenry against the British in the War of 1812, inspiring 1LT Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
July 2, 1863
The 20th Maine helps the Union Army, despite heavy losses, win the Battle of Gettysburg.
July 1, 1898
Theodore Roosevelt and the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry (aka the Rough Riders) take the Battle of San Juan Hill, the decisive conflict in the Spanish-American War.
June 3, 1916
The National Defense Act of 1916 gives the federal government the power to mobilize each state’s militia. All units would be officially renamed “National Guard.”
During WWI, the Guard makes up 40 percent of the U.S. combat divisions in France.
June 6, 1944
Virginia’s 116th Infantry Regiment is among the units that land at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
President Kennedy federalizes nearly 11,000 Mississippi troops to support the desegregation of the University of Mississippi.
Alabama Guard troops protect Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights protesters as they march from Selma to Montgomery.
The Indiana Rangers (151st Infantry), fighting in Vietnam, become one of the Army’s most decorated units.
February 16, 1991
Oklahoma’s 1/158th Field Artillery is the first Guard unit to launch rockets on Iraqi forces in Operation Desert Storm.
The State Partnership Program begins pairing states with nations to facilitate stronger global relationships. Over the next two-plus decades, more than 70 nations join.
September 11, 2001
By the afternoon of the terrorist attacks, more than 8,000 New York troops mobilize to provide support for first responders and throughout Manhattan.
October 7, 2001
The war in Afghanistan begins. The war in Iraq starts in 2003. By 2016, Guard troops will complete more than 780,000 mobilizations for post-9/11 overseas operations.
More than 50,000 troops respond to Hurricane Katrina, the largest military response to a domestic event in U.S. history.
December 31, 2011
The National Guard Bureau chief becomes a statutory member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
June 5, 2014
Facing a growing new threat, the Guard’s first Cyber Protection Team is established within Army Cyber Command.