6 Things You Didn’t Know About the National Guard

Seal_of_the_United_States_Army_National_Guard.svgThe United States military consists of five branches: the Air Force, Cost Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. However, there’s also the National Guard, which is a militia force of reserves. To learn more about the National Guard and how they operate, keep reading.

#1) The National Guard Differs from the Army Reserve

Some people assume that the National Guard is the same as the Army Reserve. While they are both reserve forces, however, they are each unique. According to the National Guard’s official website, the main difference is that National Guard soldiers can be called upon by their respective state or the federal government.

#2) 44 Presidents Have Served in the National Guard

George Washington was our nation’s first president to serve in the National Guard. In the years to since, however, 43 other presidents have served in the National Guard, some of which include Thomas Jefferson, James Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman. In its modern structure, however, only two presidents — Harry Truman and George W. Bush — have served in the National Guard.

#3) It Was Formed in the 1600s

The National Guard isn’t a new military organization; it has roots dating back to the 1600s. On December 13, 1636, the Massachusetts Bay Colony court passed a law calling for the formation of three military regiments in Boston. Historians concede that this was ultimately what led to the creation of the modern day National Guard.

#4) 342,000 Active Personnel

So, how big is the U.S. National Guard? Statistics show that as of 2016, the National Guard has roughly 342,000 personnel. To put that number into perspective, there are currently more than 1.2 million active duty personnel serving in the U.S. Army, along with 811,000 reserve personnel in the Army. So, while the National Guard plays a key role in protecting our nation and its interests, it’s still relatively small when compared to other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

#5) National Guard Soldiers are Paid For Every Day They Serve

As explained on the official National Guard website, soldiers who serve in the National Guard are paid for every day they serve. This isn’t limited strictly to field training, either. Rather, soldiers are paid even for the days they train in the National Guard.

#6) 10-Week Requirement of Basic Combat Training

Of course, joining the ranks of the National Guard isn’t always easy. National Guard soldiers must complete the same 10 weeks of basic combat training that full-time Army soldiers must complete.