Citizen-Soldiers – The New York Army National Guard
The National Guard is the oldest United States military branch, dating back to 1636 when colonial militias, made up of ordinary citizens, would put down their plows and pick up weapons to protect families and towns from hostile attacks. Today, the National Guard provides more flexibility than any other service branch, and these Citizen-Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part-time. They are always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency. The 10,500 men and women of the New York Army National Guard are community-based Soldiers who fight our nation’s wars and respond to natural disasters and emergencies here at home. These Soldiers stand ready to deploy overseas and are always ready to serve here in our local communities. Thousands of New York Army National Guard Soldiers responded when the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001. More than 4,000 Army National Guard Soldiers responded to hurricanes and floods in the Catskills, in the Mohawk Valley, and Long Island/New York City areas, specifically when Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island and New York City in 2012. Members of the National Guard’s Joint Task Force Empire Shield are on duty every day in New York City. New York's Citizen-Soldiers are equipped with the latest weapons and equipment, perform important functions and are an integral part of America’s total Army. New York’s Citizen-Soldiers have served their neighbors since the days when New York was a Dutch colony. New York National Guardsmen fought in Civil War battles, served in the trenches of France in World War I and landed on Pacific Islands in World War II. National Guard Soldiers also fought in Afghanistan and Iraq since March 2003 due to the events on September 11, 2001. These Citizen-Soldiers also pursue civilian careers while serving their community, state and nation. They use their civilian skills to further the nation’s military goals while putting the leadership skills the military teaches to use in their jobs and communities. The National Guard is always on call — ready to respond with force and efficiency at home or abroad. Their versatility enables them to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The National Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency helping to defend American freedom and ideals. This is what makes the National Guard a unique and essential element of the U.S. military. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter (NationalGuardNY).