SHAKO: Today’s Minutemen (and Women) (Update 7-9-2011)

July 7, 2011 at 12:45 am 2 comments

SHAKO: Musings on the Military Past and Present

As we celebrated Independence Day 2011, we got to thinking about the modern day successors to those 18th Century patriots who dropped everything and came running when their country was in need: the National Guard.

Historians say the Guard (or state militia as it was once known) began in 1636 when officials in Massachusetts Bay Colony created three militia regiments to protect that British colony from Indian attacks.

In 1903, Congress passed the Militia Act that organized all the state militias into the National Guard. More than 50,000 guardsman were called up to provide security at home and counter terrorism overseas following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Tens of thousands have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air National Guard has more than 140 units in the states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the last year, the Guard has responded to wildfires, floods and tornadoes, boosted the size of U.S. Forces overseas and conducted training missions with friendly armed forces. Here’s just a small sample of what these citizen soldiers have been up to in 2011.

South Dakota National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Quinton Young)

Airmen from the 114th Fighter Wing, Sioux Falls S.D., finish a section of levee in the Bay Hill area of Dakota Dunes. The levees that soldiers and airmen built with the joint effort of civilian volunteers and several local, state and federal agencies, will require security and patrolling efforts. The 114th Fighter wing has been assigned to round-the-clock patrols of this 3.8 mile stretch of levee along the shores of the Missouri River.

(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Craig L. Collins)

Missouri National Guard personnel and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter assisted Atchison County authorities repair levee L550 near Phelps City during severe flooding along the Missouri River. The Blackhawk was used to move over 145 Sandbags weighing two thousand pounds each onto areas of the levee damaged by rising water. The guardsmen were from the 106th Aviation Regiment, 129th Field Artillery and 1107th Aviation Group.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon)

A Texas National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk drops water over hot spots as helicopters from Austin Army Aviation Support Facility battled wildfires near the Possum Kingdom Lake area in North Texas. The aircraft are equipped with a Bambi Bucket, which carries over 600 gallons of water.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane, U.S. Air Force)

Female members of the Air National Guard place sandbags to protect against possible flooding from the Missouri River outside Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Missouri.  These airmen are assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.  Working with local community volunteers they helped pile up 24,000 sandbags.

In addition to emergency response in the United States, and duties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,  Haiti and Kosovo, the National Guard is also helping to train friendly forces overseas.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Miko Booth)

Here Sgt. 1st Class Charles Young of North Carolina National Guard observes as soldiers of the Moldovan army’s 22nd Peace Keeping Battalion during a training exercise in June. The Moldovans showed off their capabilities as a unit before their NATO evaluation, a weeklong exercise called Peace Shield 2011.

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Entry filed under: Haiti, Homeland Security, International Relief, National Security and Defense, Photos, Skills and Training, Traditions, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (July 1, 2011) FRIDAY FOTO (July 8, 2011)

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bill Brockman  |  July 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for this. This weekend I am performing my last ANG drill weekend after 31 years in GA and SC. I would stay longer but I am at the mandatory retirement age of 60. I have known some of the finest men and women in my life in the Guard.

    Reply
    • 2. John M. Doyle  |  July 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      Bill —
      Thanks for your comment and thanks for your service.
      America needs more folks like you.
      Best of luck!
      -John

      Reply

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