us

What you should know about the U.S. National Guard

By CNN Library

Published December 12, 2018

CAITLIN O'HARA/AFP/Getty Images

The US National Guard is a reserve military force and is the oldest component of the US armed forces.

David McNew/Getty Images

Its birthday is celebrated each December 13.

Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

It was formed in 1636 as a the militia of the colonists in North America, and is guaranteed by the US Constitution

U.S. Army National Guard via Getty Images

The term "national guard" actually came from Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette, who popularized the term on an 1824 visit to the US.

Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.

It consists of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.

U.S. Air National Guard

Each US state, territory and Washington, DC, has its own National Guard

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The National Guard takes an oath to perform state or federal missions and can be deployed for either. A governor can call up troops during civil disturbances or national disasters.

Sgt. Brian Calhoun/Digital/South Carolina National Guard

The president can order troops for federal missions both domestically and in foreign nations.

Sgt. 1st Class Kendall James/U.S. Department of Defense via Getty Images

In times of peace, the National Guard trains or "drills" one weekend a month and two weeks during the year.

Getty Images/File

National Guardsmen have fought in every US war since 1637.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Since Sept. 11, 2001, they've had at least 850,000 deployments overseas.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images