Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Major General Daryl Bohac joined more than 100 members of the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard to mark the National Guard’s 382nd birthday and Nebraska National Guard’s 164th birthday.
“Happy birthday to the men and women of the National Guard,” said Governor Ricketts. “The Nebraska National Guard has a long tradition of protecting our state and our country at home and abroad. Nebraskans support our National Guard and they stand behind our servicemen and women who sacrifice so much. Thank you to all our troops for their selfless service to our country and for protecting the freedoms we hold dear.”
“Our National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, their families, and employers are amazing national resources that have added to the ability of the United States to defend the nation for the past 382 years,” said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac. “One need look no further than here in Nebraska, where over the past year we have sent Soldiers and Airmen into harm’s way in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria among others, including nearly 200 Nebraska Air Guard Airmen and Soldiers who are currently deployed to the Middle East. We also responded to various state and national emergencies, including this past summer when we deployed a team of Army National Guard aviators to North Carolina to aid in the Hurricane Florence relief effort. Being a National Guard Soldier or Airmen means being always ready and always there when the call comes and for nearly 400 years our National Guard has done exactly that.”
The National Guard, which was founded on December 13, 1636, draws its heritage back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony when the Massachusetts General Court, for the first time in America, established that all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia. Since that day, members of the National Guard have fought in each of America’s wars and continue to serve overseas and participate in combat operations in support of the United States’ continuing international efforts.
Closer to home, the National Guard continues to provide support for such emergencies as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and wildfires, while also building partnerships both at home and internationally. Last year, members of the Nebraska National Guard conducted multiple out-of-state emergency response missions in support of hurricane relief operations in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most recently, Nebraska helicopter crews deployed to North Carolina and assisted with the Hurricane Florence recovery efforts. They have also conducted a record number of engagements with members of the Czech Republic through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this past July.
Although not quite as old as the larger National Guard, Nebraska National Guardsmen will mark their 164th birthday this month. The Nebraska National Guard was founded when Nebraska’s acting Territorial Governor Thomas B. Cuming issued a proclamation on December 23, 1854, recommending that the citizens of the territory organize, in their respective neighborhoods, into volunteer companies. The territory’s first legally authorized militia consisted of two regiments, one north and one south of the Platte River.