Happy 379th Birthday National Guard!
National Guard/Reserve

Happy 379th Birthday National Guard!

On December 13th we will be celebrating the 379th birthday of the National Guard. While we celebrate, it is also a great time to learn more about the National Guard and how it began.

Happy 379th Birthday National Guard! Here is a quick history crash course on the National Guard…

Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775 In the early hours of April 19, 1775, Captain John Parker was alerted to mobilize the Lexington Company of the Middlesex, County Brigade, Massachusetts Militia in anticipation of a British 700 man force which was marching to Concord to capture provincial arms. By 2 a.m. Parker had mustered his company on the Lexington Green. The Lexington Company of militia was typical of the period. The youngest militiaman was 18, the oldest 63; eight fathers and sons served together. Most were farmers while some were veterans of the French and Indian War. Just after sunrise Parker and his 77 militiamen stood in defiance of the British advance guard. "Stand your ground," Parker ordered. "Don't fire until fired upon. But if they want to have a war let it begin here." Major John Pitcairn, commander of the British advance guard, ordered the militiamen to lay down their arms. Realizing that his company was outnumbered, Parker ordered his men to disperse. As the militiamen began to break ranks, a British officer fired his pistol. Without orders, the British troops opened fire. Although greatly outnumbered, the militiamen returned the fire. The battle went on for several minutes all around the Green. When it was over eight Americans lay dead and nine were wounded. The British quickly resumed their march. Later that morning, Captain Parker reorganized his unit and marched to Concord. The Lexington Company would later fight in the Battle of Bunker Hill and form a company for service in the Continental Army. However, few of its members on that fateful April morning realized that the Battle of Lexington would lead to the Revolutionary War and American independence. The Lexington Company and the Middlesex County Brigade are perpetuated by the 181st and 182nd Infantry Regiments, Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775

Colonial Times

On December 13, 1636 the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered that the Colony’s militia companies be organized into different regiments;  North, South and East. This was meant to help increase the militia’s accountability to the government. It was also formed to help with conflicts with the Pequot Indians that were living in the area at the time.

White males between the ages of 16 and 60 were obligated to take up arms and to help in the defense of their communities by serving at night in guard details. They also would participate in weekly drills.

The term “National Guard”

Back in the 1600s, the regiments were not called the “National Guard” like they are today. That term started in 1824 when the Marquis de Lafayette, who was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought for the United States in the American Revolutionary War, came to visit. The 2nd Battalion, 11th New York Artillery Unit met with him and decided to take on the term “National Guard” in honor of the French National Guard. The title was federally formalized in 1916.

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The National Guard has been involved in every war since 1637. During modern times this meant that 300,000 were mobilized in World War 2, 138,000 in the Korean War, 10,511 in Vietnam and 63,000 in the Persian Gulf War. The National Guard has also been called up for national disasters, riots and other times when safety issues were a concern.

650,000 were mobilized for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-2010.

Today, in 2015, there are around 450,000 serving with the Army and Air National Guard. As a spouse of one of them, I am happy to celebrate the 379th birthday of the National Guard. They have come a long way over the years, and have been there to serve our country when needed. The US would not be what it is today without this part of the Military world.

Happy 379th Birthday National Guard!







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