The National Guard got its inception in 1636 when each state had its own militia. Mandated by the Constitution in 1787, this became the foundation for the National Guard’s units today. The National Guard is a reserve military force made up of members from each state as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. They are at the command of the state/territory governor as well as the president and can be called upon at a moment’s notice. Today, the National Guard consists of approximately 340,000 troops from all states and territories of the United States.
The Guard is comprised of citizen soldiers who train one weekend a month and then again for two weeks once a year. They are called upon to protect United States domestic interests in times of conflict or natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina or the California Wildfires, as well as counterdrug efforts and reconstruction missions. The Guard may also be deployed internationally for combat missions, and are usually added to Army troops already in operation. There are many different roles that the soldiers can fill, such as infantry, air defense, medical, military police, intelligence, technology, engineering, aviation, etc. When the National Guard troops are not called upon, most members hold civilian jobs or they attend college all while showing up to their monthly trainings.