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National Guard 373rd birthday celebration to be held next week
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Dec. 4, 2009) — A cake cutting in celebration of the National Guard’s 373rd birthday is scheduled for 3 p.m on Friday, Dec. 11, at the Engineer Hall of Flags in the Maneuver Support Center Complex on Fort Leonard Wood.

The event, which will include music from a brass quartet, is open to the public.

At Fort Leonard Wood, the National Guard trains along side its active counterparts in all three of the career fields represented, from basic combat and advanced individual training to advanced officer and noncommissioned officer training courses.

National Guard units represent 55 percent of total Engineer Corps strength, 37 percent of the Chemical Corps, and 50 percent of the Military Police Corps.

The National Guard is the oldest component of the U.S. armed forces and one of the nation’s longest-enduring institutions. The National Guard traces its history back to the earliest English colonies in North America, when on Dec. 13, 1636, three regiments of militia were formed in Massachusetts. Responsible for their own defense, the colonists drew on English military tradition and organized their able-bodied male citizens into units.

Today, these original units continue as the 181st Infantry Regiment, 182nd Cavalry Regiment and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

These are the oldest units in the U.S. Army and are among the world’s oldest military units.

Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 150,000 Guardsmen were called up by both their state and the federal government to provide security at home and combat terrorism abroad.

Today's National Guard continues its historic dual mission, providing the states with units trained and equipped to protect life and property, while providing the nation with units ready to defend the United States and its interests around the world.

The National Guard stands ready today as a full partner in the total Army and a first-line defense against domestic threats and natural disasters, as it has for its entire 373 year history, with the time proven motto of “Always Ready, Always There!”

Also in celebration of the National Guard’s 373rd birthday, the Missouri National Guard is holding a formal ball on Dec. 12 at Lake of the Ozarks.

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