The National Guard turned 384 years old on Sunday, serving its motto of "Always Ready, Always There" since 1636.
According to the National Guard's official website, the first militia regiments in North America organized in Massachusetts on Dec. 13, 1636.
Massachusetts, still a colony, legislated on this date that its existing militia companies be organized into three regiments.
The descendants of those three colonial regiments — the 101st Engineer Battalion, the 101st Field Artillery Regiment, the 181st Infantry Regiment and the 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Massachusetts Army National Guard — are considered to be the oldest units in the U.S. Military.
The Guard's website says Dec. 13 is regarded as the date of its founding "based upon the Defense Department’s practice of adopting the dates of initial authorizing legislation for organized units as the birthdates of the active and reserve components of the armed services."
The National Guard can deploy for both state and federal missions. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the men and women of the Montana National Guard have served various roles, from helping to screen travelers arriving in the state, to assisting at hospitals and correctional facilities.
Happy Birthday, National Guard — with thanks for being "Always Ready, Always There" for nearly 400 years.