The U.S. National Guard is celebrating its 384th birthday on Sunday and recognizing its mission motto to be “always ready, always there.”
“Since 1636, the National Guard has been Always Ready, Always There. Join us in celebrating 384 years of service!” the Guard tweeted on Sunday along with a video.
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) December 13, 2020
The Department of Defense tweeted a Happy Birthday message to the Guard, saying, “Today, we celebrate 384 years of the oldest military force in the DOD. Join us in saluting the @USNationalGuard! Happy birthday”
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) December 13, 2020
The U.S. Air Force also tweeted a birthday message: “#OTD in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Mass. Based upon an order of the Mass. Bay Colony’s General Court, the militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony.”
Happy birthday @USNationalGuard! #OTD in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Mass. Based upon an order of the Mass. Bay Colony’s General Court, the militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony. #Guard384 pic.twitter.com/yl5Rcoruyl
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) December 13, 2020
The inception of the National Guard traces its start to the beginnings of the first militia regiments organized in North America, predating even the United States of America itself. On Dec, 13, 1636 at the direction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court, those militia regiments were organized, according to the National Guard’s service history.
The modern descendants of those first militia regiments — the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – hold the distinction of being the oldest military units in the U.S.
The Militia Act of May 8, 1792, under the auspices of the newly formed U.S. Constitutional government, permitted those militias organized before that date to retain their “customary privileges,” under the new nation’s military order. Subsequent laws, such as the Militia Act of 1903, the National Defense Act of 1916 solidified the National Guard’s position as having those military units older than the country itself.