By Andrew Waldman
NGAUS Staff Writer
(Dec. 14, 2012) National Guard leaders, members of Congress and Guard supporters celebrated a special birthday for the Guard during a reception last night in the nation’s capital.
The reception, held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, celebrated the 376th anniversary of the Guard. The crowd of about 250 heard remarks from Gen. Frank J. Grass, the National Guard Bureau chief, Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, the NGAUS chairman of the board and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
The first Guard units were created by the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature on Dec. 13, 1636. Three units of men were required to report for duty to defend the colony. The lineage of those original units lives on today in the Massachusetts National Guard.
“Tonight, we mark more than just a day in history, we celebrate 376 years of service to the state and the nation,” said Danner. “Wherever and wherever there has been a threat to our citizens, our values or our way of life, we have always been, as Guardsmen, always ready, always there.”
While the party marked the Guard’s 376th birthday, it also fell very close to the one-year anniversary of legislation that granted the National Guard Bureau chief a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Rahall was one of several members of Congress instrumental in getting the Guard a seat at the table. He co-sponsored legislation in the House that eventually became part of the law confirming the NGB chief as a member of the Joint Chiefs.
“It has always been my belief that you deserve a direct voice, and by that I mean a seat at the Joint Chiefs of Staff table, to ensure that our guard has the training resources and readiness to fulfill its dual-role mission, and that bill is now law,” said Rahall.