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Celebrate the Army National Guard!

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness
Filed under: Army, National Guard
On December 13, the National Guard will be celebrating its 378th birthday! That’s right—378 years since founding.

The Army National Guard actually counts 1636 as its founding year, which makes it significantly older than the United States itself. The Massachusetts Bay Colony formed three permanent militia regiments to provide organized defense of the colony; the date of the General Court order was December 13. These regiments still exist as the Massachusetts Army National Guard, now as four units: the 101st Engineer Battalion, the 101st Field Artillery Regiment, the 181st Infantry Regiment, and the 182nd Infantry Regiment.

As colonies developed along the eastern shores and then inland, they formed their individual militia and organized themselves along regimental lines. After the formation of the U.S., militia were organized by the individual states; for much of the 19th century, the U.S. had no national standing army. The name “National Guard” was originally adopted by the 2nd Battalion, 11th New York Artillery, during the War of 1812, in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette of the French National Guard. The name was officially adopted for all state militia with the Militia Act of 1903. In 1933, the state militia joined the National Guard of the United States, a reserve force of the U.S. Army.

So how is it that the Army National Guard can be older than the U.S. Army? Our founding fathers saw fit to recognize the contributions of the states’ militia when they passed the Militia Act of May 8, 1792, which enabled pre-existing militia units to retain their “customary privileges.” Subsequent acts of Congress have perpetuated this.

Militia units have participated in every U.S. military action since 1636, including the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and now into the 21st. National Guard units also participate in domestic peacekeeping activities and assist with the aftermath of natural disasters. So on December 13, take a moment to learn more about what our Army National Guard is up to by visiting the Guard News and Overseas Operations pages on the National Guard website.

Questions families of Reserve & National Guard members need to ask

Asking some questions ahead of time can help families of National Guard and Reserve Warfighters when it is time to deploy.

HPRC recently posted an article with questions that parents of deploying Warfighters need to ask, but families of National Guard and Reserve Warfighters have additional challenges when their Warfighter deploys (such as being away from support at installations, financial changes, and shifts in childcare). It can help to think through some of these challenges and come up with a game plan ahead of time. Here are some examples to start with:

  • Who needs to know about the upcoming deployment? (Teachers, doctors…)
  • What’s the plan in case of an emergency (either stateside or while deployed)?
  • Will the childcare arrangements need to shift during deployment? (This is especially important for single parents.)
  • Will family income be reduced? Who will manage finances during this time?
  • How will family members keep in touch with the deployed Warfighter? Does everyone in the family agree, or are there individual preferences? (For example, your oldest child may prefer to Skype rather than write letters.)
  • Are there any military support organizations those at home can use for extra support?
  • Will any holidays or birthdays be missed during the deployment? If so, maybe something special can be done ahead of time and saved for the specific day.

For more information on resources for before, during, and after deployment, check out the “Families & Deployment“ section of HPRC’s website.

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