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Military Department Celebrates National Guard Birthday

Friday, December 13, 2019 | 03:18pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Friday, December 13, Soldiers and Airmen from the Tennessee Military Department gathered in the Hall of Flags at the Tennessee National Guard Headquarters to celebrate the 383rd birthday of the National Guard.

“It’s the oldest and one of the proudest military institutions in the United States,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “First organized in 1636, this commemoration marks a milestone in our nation’s history.” The National Guard is the only service component that has both a federal and a state mission, most noticeably, responding to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.

Holmes, the Tennessee National Guard’s senior officer, officiated over a cake-cutting ceremony with members of both the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard.

“383 years ago, citizens of the North American colonies pledged to defend their communities,” said Holmes. “They were the first citizen-soldiers and their legacy continues with the Soldiers and Airmen here today.”

During the ceremony, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Rodriguez assigned to Joint Forces Headquarters and Pfc. Lindsey Jackson with Nashville’s 301st Troop Command joined Holmes to cut the cake. It is customary that the oldest and most junior service member in attendance be given the honor of cutting the cake with a ceremonial saber. Rodriguez, the senior member in attendance, represented the Guard’s past while Jackson represented the Guard’s future.

“It’s an honor to be asked to take part in this ceremony today,” said Jackson. “I’m proud to be a part of an organization that has been defending this country for over 380 years.”     

The cakes cut during the ceremony were donated by the Association of the U.S. Army who were represented during the ceremony by retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert Huffman. 

The military organization we know today as the National Guard came into existence on December 13, 1636 when the Massachusetts General Court in Salem, ordered the militia companies around Boston to form militia "regiments." The Massachusetts General Court created the North, South, and East Regiments. The regiment would later become the basic unit structure for the Continental Army and all other colonial military organizations. This act is widely considered the birth of today's National Guard.

The first regularly scheduled militia drill, known as the “First Muster,” took place in 1637. Although the exact date is not known, the First Muster of the East Regiment occurred on the village green in Salem, Massachusetts, while the other regiments held musters throughout the colony.

Today’s National Guard, comprised of more than 450,000 men and women in the 50 states, 3 territories (Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia, continue to protect the homeland. They also provide the Army and the Air Force a proven and lethal combat force.

Tennessee is the tenth largest National Guard state and the fourth largest deploying state since September 11, 2001.  More than 30,000 Tennessee Army and Air National Guardsmen have been deployed overseas in support of the War on Terror with 22 members having paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Some of the highest achieving officers, commissioned through the state universities Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs, choose to serve in the Tennessee National Guard.

With the continuing and every-changing threat of terrorism today, the National Guard motto may say it best: "Always Ready, Always There.”

(L to R) Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, Pfc. Lindsey Jackson with the 301st Troop Command, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert Huffman, representative of the Association of the U.S. Army and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Rodriguez

The Tennessee Military Department celebrated the National Guard’s 383rd birthday with a cake cutting ceremony on December 13, 2019 in the Hall of Flags of the Joint Force Headquarters, Tennessee National Guard, in Nashville.  (L to R) Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, Pfc. Lindsey Jackson with the 301st Troop Command, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert Huffman, representative of the Association of the U.S. Army and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Rodriguez with the Joint Force Headquarters.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Cordiero)

 
Pfc. Lindsey Jackson with the 301st Troop Command represented the most junior member of the Tennessee National Guard along with Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General

The Tennessee Military Department celebrated the National Guard’s 383rd birthday with a cake cutting ceremony on December 13, 2019 in the Hall of Flags of the Joint Force Headquarters, Tennessee National Guard, in Nashville.  (L to R) During a cake cutting ceremony, Pfc. Lindsey Jackson with the 301st Troop Command represented the most junior member of the Tennessee National Guard along with Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Cordiero)

Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Rodriguez, representing the oldest member of the Tennessee National Guard, cut a cake during the birthday celebration

The Tennessee Military Department celebrated the National Guard’s 383rd birthday with a cake cutting ceremony on December 13, 2019 in the Hall of Flags of the Joint Force Headquarters, Tennessee National Guard, in Nashville.  (L to R) Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Rodriguez, representing the oldest member of the Tennessee National Guard, cut a cake during the birthday celebration.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Cordiero)