To the Soldiers, Airmen, and Families of the National Guard
The proclamation came on December 13, 1636: Every man between 16 and 60 who was capable of bearing arms was called to defend the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Every week they drilled, remaining ever-vigilant. It was the birth of our National Guard: Always Ready, Always There.
Those men are long-gone, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony is now one of 50 states. The uniforms, the weaponry, the threats, and the tactics have all changed. Our ranks are more prepared, more professional, more diverse, and more powerful than the earliest Guardsmen could ever have dreamed. There has been one constant in those 385 years—we have remained Always Ready, Always There.
Our longevity, our capabilities, and our success were not preordained by our founding; they were determined and reinforced by every subsequent generation of Soldiers and Airmen who proudly served in our National Guard. It is our people who have made every mission possible—every rescue from a flood, every mile of cleared debris, every wildfire evacuation, every conflict we have fought on behalf of our Nation. Each of you—our Soldiers, Airmen, and the families who support us—are the reason we are Always Ready, Always There.
The celebration of the National Guard’s 385th year is a celebration of our people, our readiness, and our enduring promise to our Nation and our communities: When you need the National Guard, we are Always Ready, Always There.
Daniel R. Hokanson
General, U.S. Army
Chief, National Guard Bureau
Tony L. Whitehead
SEA, U.S. Air Force
National Guard Bureau