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Celebrating 380 Years of Valor

In honor of the Guard's 380th birthday, a snapshot of historical highlights
Colonial Massachusetts forms pre-existing militia into official regiments on Dec. 13, 1636.
In this painting, part of the National Guard Heritage Series, Colonial Massachusetts forms pre-existing militia into official regiments on Dec. 13, 1636.
The 20th Maine, led by COL Joshua Chamberlain, holds the Union left flank at Little Round Top during Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.
This National Guard Heritage Series painting depicts the 20th Maine, which was led by COL Joshua Chamberlain, during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.
The Rough Riders, here with Theodore Roosevelt, take San Juan Hill in Cuba on July 1, 1898, and conclude the Spanish-American War.
The Rough Riders, here with Theodore Roosevelt, took San Juan Hill in Cuba on July 1, 1898, and concluded the Spanish-American War.
Virginia’s 116th Infantry Regiment lands at Omaha Beach and storms Nazi Germany’s “Fortress Europe” on D-Day, June 6, 1944, opening the Western Front in WWII.
Virginia’s 116th Infantry Regiment lands at Omaha Beach and storms Nazi Germany’s “Fortress Europe” on D-Day, June 6, 1944, opening the Western Front in WWII.
The Indiana Rangers (151st Infantry) fight in Vietnam and become one of the Army’s most decorated units from 1968-69.
Fighting in Vietnam, the Indiana Rangers (151st Infantry) became one of the Army’s most decorated units from 1968-69.
Oklahoma’s 1/158th Field Artillery fires Operations Desert Storm’s first rocket barrage (afterwards dubbed “steel rain” by Iraqi troops) on Feb. 16, 1991.
Oklahoma’s 1/158th Field Artillery contributed to the "steel rain" on Iraqi troops during Operation Desert Storm.
By 2016, Guard troops complete mare than 780,000 post-9/11 mobilizations in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
By 2016, Guard troops completed more than 780,000 post-9/11 mobilizations in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Over 50,000 National Guard troops respond to Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, representing the largest military response to a domestic event in U.S. history.
Over 50,000 National Guard troops responded to Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, representing the largest military response to a domestic event in U.S. history.

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.”

1918

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.

September-October 1962

President Kennedy federalizes nearly 11,000 Mississippi troops to support the desegregation of the University of Mississippi.

March 1965

Alabama Guard troops protect Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights protesters as they march from Selma to Montgomery.

1968-69

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.

October 1993

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.

September 2005

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.