Comprised of two military branches, Army and Air Force, the National Guard, is certainly a reserve military force to be reckoned with. It’s state militia units are federally recognized as part of the United States’ armed forces, whether active or inactive. Citizen soldiers make up the National Guard, working civilian jobs part time and serving in the military part time as well.
Since its inception in 1636, the National Guard has been and will always be ready to mobilize its units for active duty to supplement regular armed forces during times of war or for national emergency as declared by Congress, the President or the Secretary of Defense.
There is claim that the National Guard is older than our nation itself, with over three and a half centuries of service. Our modern-day units that can are direct descendants from the Massachusetts Bay Colony Regiments formed 375 years ago, are the 101st Field Artillery Regiment, the 182nd Infantry Regiment, the 101st Engineer Battalion and the 181st Infantry.
It is also accredited with having served in the Mexican-American War, the beginning of the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War. During World War I, the National Guard made up to 40% of the U.S. combat divisions in France and 19 divisions in WWII.
More recently, we have seen our National Guard’s service men and women deploy to aid in Operation Desert Storm, with over 63,000 members mobilized. They were also there to assist with peace-keeping operations in places like Somalia, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo as well as the handling of natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina), strikes, riots and other such massive events.
Guard’s men and women traditionally serve “One Weekend a Month, Two Weeks a Year” although certain units can serve more frequently depending on the demand of the task at hand. Pilots, navigators and aircrewmen are typical examples of those who are full time service members. A significant number of these also serve full time in AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) or ART (Air Reserve Technician or Army Reserve Technician).
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