LATHAM-- The National Guard of the United States turns 375 Years old today,Dec. 13. On this day in 1636 the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed a law establishing formal militia companies in the colony. These companies were made up of all adult males older than 16 and were expected to meet and train in military skills regularly.In New York, the first citizen-soldiers were members of the Burgher Guard, organized by the Dutch East Indian Company in 1640 to help protect New Amsterdam from their English neighbors in Massachusetts and Virginia or from hostile natives.
Citizen soldiers of the militia and National Guard have fought in all of America’s wars from King Philips War against Native Americans in the New England Colonies in 1675 to the struggle in Afghanistan today.