Army National Guard
The National Guard's roots date back to 1636, when colonial militias made up of ordinary citizens would put down their plows and pick up weapons to protect families and towns from hostile attacks. Today, Citizen-Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.
The Army National Guard (ARNG) is one component of The Army (which consists of the Active Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve). The Army National Guard is composed primarily of traditional Guardsmen -- civilians who serve their country, state and community on a part-time basis (usually one weekend each month and two weeks during the summer). Each state, most territories and the District of Columbia have its own National Guard, as provided for by the Constitution of the United States.
The Guard stood on the frontiers of freedom during the Cold War, sending soldiers and airmen to fight in Korea and to reinforce NATO during the Berlin crisis of 1961-1962. During the Vietnam War, Army and Air Guardsmen were called up for a year of active duty. Again, Army and Air Guardsmen were called upon to help bring a swift end to Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The National Guard saw the nature of its federal mission change through the 1990s, with more frequent call ups in response to crises in Haiti and the skies over Iraq. The National Guard has also served in peacekeeping efforts in Sinai, Bosnia, and Kosovo into the 2000s, providing a flexible response to regional conflicts on a rotational basis.
The National Guard Today
Most recently, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Guard members were called up by both their States and the Federal government to provide security at home and combat terrorism abroad. Tens of thousands of Soldiers and Airmen have served in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the War on Terror in what has been the largest mobilization and deployment since the Korean War. Their contributions have effectively transformed the Guard from a strategic reserve force into a combat-ready operational force.
Domestic operations continue to require the Guard's unique and special skills. In the largest and swiftest response to a natural disaster in history, the Guard deployed more than 50,000 troops in just over two weeks to support the Gulf States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hundreds of smaller operations continued to require attention as well. The National Guard continues its historic dual mission, providing trained and equipped units to the states to protect life and property and to the nation in order to defend the United States and its interests worldwide. Simply put, the National Guard is a critical element in the nation's defense.
Why the National Guard?
The Guard does whatever is needed, wherever it is needed, As a Guard Soldier, your primary area of operation is your home state. Any governor or the president himself can call on the Guard at a moment’s notice. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency helping to defend American freedom and ideals. This is what makes the National Guard a unique and essential element of the U.S. military.
Join the Washington National Guard today.
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