It's the birthday of the US National Guard, and we're here to salute them for their service in the name of our freedom.
Here are some facts most people don't know about the National Guard, courtesy of CNN Library.
-- The RallyPoint.com team
The National Guard was formed in the 17th century as the militia of the colonists in North America.
National Guard soldiers have fought in every U.S. war since 1637.
The Marquis de Lafayette, on a visit to the U.S. in 1824, popularized the term "national guard" as a description for the various state's militias. The title was formalized by federal legislation in 1916.
Other reserve groups have no affiliation with the National Guard. (Ex. Army Reserve)
Each U.S. state and Washington D.C. has its own National Guard.
The National Guard takes an oath to perform state or federal missions and can be deployed for either. A governor can call up troops to assist in national disasters or the president can order troops to foreign nations on federal missions.
In times of peace, the National Guard trains one weekend a month and two weeks during the year.
Some of the National Guard's federal mobilizations include the Berlin crisis of 1961, the Korean War (138,000 mobilized), and the first Persian Gulf War (63,000 mobilized) and for peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1967 - Michigan and New Jersey guardsmen are called up in major race riots in Detroit and Newark.
January 25, 1968 - President Lyndon B. Johnson mobilizes 9,343 Air National Guardsmen to report for duty in Vietnam conflict.
May 4, 1970 - Approximately 100 Ohio National Guardsmen are called to Kent State University to disperse an angry crowd of students. Guardsmen shoot and kill four students.
September 2001 - Immediately after the September 11th attacks, 50,000 guardsmen are called up to perform federal and state missions.
Between September 2001 and September 2010, the National Guard mobilized 650,000 troops in support of OIF and OEF.
Statistics: (Source: Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment posted 3/2013)
Army National Guard - approximately 362,000 troops
Air National Guard - approximately 106,700 troops
Total National Guard strength - approximately 468,700 troops