About the Air National Guard
Published January 22, 2008
The Air National Guard as we know it today is a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force. The official birth date of the Air National Guard is 18 September 1947; the same day the Air Force became a separate service. The Air National Guard as we know it today was a product of postwar planning during World War II. The men and women of the Air National Guard are truly the epitome of our nation's first militia dating as far back as the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. In those days, every able-bodied man had a weapon and could be called upon to lay aside the plow in defense of the state. Today's guardsmen and women are your doctors, lawyers, police officers, cooks, teachers, and factory workers, white and blue-collar workers. They are your civilians in peace; Airman in war -- we guard America's skies.
The Air National Guard has a unique dual-mission that consists of both Federal and State roles. This dual mission means not only being part of the nation's entire military force, but also being responsible to their respective states during times of state or community emergencies. In peacetime, the governor of each state or territory commands the Air National Guard. The Air Guard has been there to help their communities during such emergencies as; Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and forest fires. During National crises, the Air National Guard is activated by the president of the United States. We have defended our national interests during World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Desert Storm/Desert Shield.
Throughout history, the Air National Guard has been responsible for the defense of the United States. General George Washington commanded the first National Guard unit against the invasion of British forces. National Guard troops participated in the War Between the States. Whether guarding its borders to the north and south or patrolling the waters of our coastline, the Air Guard ensures the safety of all Americans. Today, the Air National Guard provides 100 percent of the Air Force's continental United States based air defense interceptor force.
Since World War II, the Air National Guard has been involved in restoring and maintaining peace throughout the world. The Air National Guard's aviators made significant contributions to the United States involvement in both World War II and the Korean War. During this time period four Air Guardsmen achieved the coveted status of ace. The Berlin Crisis highlighted the Air National Guards involvement in humanitarian missions around the world. Between 1983 and 1990, Air National Guard members played a key role in helping to restore democracy around the world; with the invasions of Grenada and Panama. On 2 August 1990, Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield brought Air National Guardsmen to the ready once again. Our personnel played a pivotal role in providing air support in the "no fly" zone and broadcasting surrender appeal messages and instructions to the Iraqi soldiers.
Today the Air National Guard is turning its sights toward space. Space-warning missions, once thought to be a thing of the future, are now a key part of the Air National Guard. This space warning system ensures mobile command and control in the event of a nuclear war or other crisis, and keeps the national command authority informed of missile activity worldwide.
Air National Guard members take pride in being active role models for their communities. During times of celebration or trouble, the Air National Guard provides resources and support needed to get the job done. We have helped with such projects as Habitat for Humanity and Red Cross blood drives. We have supported our communities with time, sweat and supplies during hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. As an institution, the Air National Guard is committed to the vision of being a mirror of the people and values of America. We share in the success of our nation, and we are ready, willing and able to defend America's freedom. We take great pride in being "Your Hometown Air Force" -- the Air National Guard.