Answering our nation's call

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tony DeJesus
  • 190th Maintenance Group
By the time you read this article, many citizen-Airmen of the 190th Air Refueling Wing will have once again deployed to serve our country at an overseas location supporting
the Global War on Terrorism. 

Responding to the needs of our nation is not new to the National Guard. As a matter of fact, the National Guard is the oldest institution of the armed forces. For 373 years, the Guard has been in existence, protecting our colonies and states. 

It was in 1636 the Massachusetts Bay Colony formed three regiments responding
to threats from Native Americans. These three regiments still exist in some form or another in the Massachusetts National Guard 19 generations later. 

The Air Force and the Air National Guard will celebrate their 62nd birthday this month. It was Sept. 18, 1947, when the Air Force officially separated from the Army and formed as a separate branch of the military. The ANG has units in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 

As commanders, we appreciate and understand the sacrifices that are made when a member is tasked to deploy, supporting either our federal or state mission.
We also need to make sure to thank civilian employers for their support when our nation calls us to duty. 

America has relied on the National Guard to defend our soil from foreign enemies and respond to domestic threats. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, have drastically changed the way the National Guard is looked upon as a service. The model of a Guard member serving once a month and two weeks each year has long been replaced. We are an operational, all-volunteer force supporting the Global War on Terrorism and also responding to floods, fires, hurricanes and other domestic emergencies. 

We serve with more than 450,000 other Army and Air Guard members from 54 states and territories. We are the 19th generation that is comprised of citizen Soldiers and Airmen that have raised their hand and volunteered to deploy, protecting and serving when our nation calls.