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The United States National Guard system is the official militia of each of the individual fifty states of the United

Logo of the Army National Guard

States of America, and doubles as a component of the Army Reserve. The United States Army National Guard was officially established in 1903 under the

Militia Act, Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code.  The Army National Guard is divided into units based within each of the fifty states of the United States of America, and is answerable to the governor of the state in which they are based.  While serving primarily on a reserve basis, the National Guard may be called up by the governor in the event of civil unrest or natural disasters, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and others.

National Guard units may be federalized and put under control of the federal government and President of the United States. When a National Guardsman or National Guard unit is federally recognized,  the member or unit becomes part of the Army National Guard of the United States, a reserve component of the United States Army.The National Guard is unique in this regard, that they play a duel state end federal responsibility.


The Army National Guard can trace its birth as far back as 13 December 1636 under colonial militias which were organized to protect the colonies against Native American attacks. The official founding of the group was after the Spanish-American war in 1903 through the Dick Act, which was intended to reorganize the militia system of the United States. During World War I, the National Guard provided 40% of the US Army's combat forces. In World War II, the National Guard provided 19 divisions . Since the end of the second World War, the mantra "One weekend a month, two weeks a year" has been central to the duty requirements of the National Guard. However, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this saying has been the source of derision from dissilusioned Guardsmen finding themselves called up to greater duty than anticipated.

Training and Service

Army National Guard members go through the same training as their active duty counterparts.  This includes Army Basic Training, and Advanced Individual Training of their selection.  Once they have completed both of these, they return to their hometowns.  They meet for one weekend per month for drilling with their unit, as well as two weeks of drilling every year, usually in the summer.  National Guardsmen can therefore pursue full-time careers or attend school full-time while serving part-time in the National Guard.  The terms of enlistment for the National Guard are eight years total, however, one can elect to serve for only three of those years, or six, with the remaining time spent on Individual Ready Reserve, where they can still be called into action in an emergency but do not drill with the National Guard or collect a paycheck.  These soldiers keep their uniform and military identification, and are only required to attend an annual muster, which pays for attendance, and notify their unit if they have a change of address.

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