U.S. National Guard Birthday Date in the current year: December 13, 2024

U.S. National Guard Birthday The birthday of the U.S. National Guard is celebrated annually on December 13. Even though it is not a federal holiday, it is observed by National Guard members and veterans to honor the oldest military organizations in the country.

The National Guard of the United States is a state-based military reserve force; its units can be mobilized for active duty by their resident state government or the federal government when need arises. The majority of National Guard members work a full-time civilian job when they are not deployed.

The history of the U.S. National Guard dates back to the European colonization of the Americas. The first local militia unit in the New World was created by the Spanish in the town of St. Augustine, Florida, founded by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1565. The first permanent English settlement in the Americas, Jamestown, also had a militia force.

Each colonial settlement had at least one militia unit. On December 13, 1636, a number of small local units in Massachusetts were merged to form the first colony-wide militia. This day is considered the birthday of the United States National Guard, although the title “National Guard” would be first used almost two centuries later.

Some militia units in New York State adopted the title “National Guard” in 1824 in honor of the French National Guard and its notable commander the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution. It became a standard title for militia units following the adoption of the Militia Act of 1903 and was further cemented by the National Defense Act of 1916. The formation of the National Guard as a separate entity from the state militias was finalized by the National Guard Mobilization Act of 1947.

Today, the National Guard is composed of 54 separate units stationed in each of the states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories (Guam, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands). Each unit is under the dual control of its respective state or territorial government and the federal government; in the District of Columbia, the National Guard operates under the U.S. president.

Although the National Guard is a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, there is a difference when it comes to mobilization of National Guard members and members of the United States Army Reserve: National Guard members cannot be mobilized individually; entire National Guard units are activated for service during a state of emergency or war.

To celebrate U.S. National Guard birthday, National Guard units, military museums, veterans’ organizations, and other stakeholders organize various events that aim to educate the general public about the history of the National Guard and highlight the contribution of its members to society.

You can join the celebration by learning more about the National Guard, donating to a charity linked to the National Guard, holding a memorial service for members of the National Guard who died in the line of duty, and spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalGuardBirthday.

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