National Guard reaches 375 year milestone.

  • Published
  • By Mary-Dale Amison
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
December 13, 1636--375 years ago this month---was the birth of the first state-organized defense force known as the National Guard, now a part of the Department of Defense's Total Force.

From its fledgling roots of the founding of the first permanent militia by colonial settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Citizen-Airmen and Citizen Soldiers can be found in nearly every zip code, in more than 3,300 communities. A volunteer force, ready to rapidly respond to any natural or manmade disaster ... saving lives, easing human suffering, and protecting property.

The Guard has often been an invisible but vital force, throughout our nation's history. Most days, until needed, Guardsmen walk unnoticed in the community. They may be sitting in the cubicle next to you, fixing your car, plowing a field, doing your taxes, or perhaps directing traffic. The pilot who flew the plane on the last trip you took could be an Air National Guardsmen.

The 131st Bomb Wing currently has members deployed overseas in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and supporting Agri-Business Development Team (ADT) in Afghanistan. Throughout 2011, 131st Bomb Wing members have worked State Emergency Duty efforts following Missouri tornadoes, ice storms, and flooding.

"Missouri Guardsmen have stepped up time and again serving our great State, Nation, and our fellow citizens," said Col Greg Champagne, Commander, 131st Bomb Wing, "I am extremely proud of all the wing's members who are continuing the 375-year old tradition of serving our country as Citizen Airmen."

It is a complex world we live in now. The enemy is no longer easily identified by the color of their coats - as was the case in wars long past. The National Guard has learned to adapt - to meet the challenges of new global threats - and will continue its history of being "Always Ready, Always There."