National Guard of the United States

The National Guard of the United States is a military reserve that specializes in maintaining well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and to provide assistance during national emergencies. The National Guard was established in 1636 when ordinary citizens formed militias to defend against hostile attacks making it the country's oldest military branch.The National Guard is composed of military members or units of each state and the territories of the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Colombia. The National Guard is a part of the United States Armed Forces, the Militia of the United States, the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Department of Defense; all of which are under the dual control of the state and the federal government. Each enlisted soldier and airman holds membership in both the National Guard of his or her state and in the U.S. Army or the U.S. Air Force. The National Guard today continues to accomplish each mission through providing emergency-relief, aid, and protection in order to preserve peace and public safety in and outside of the United States.