As Nebraskans complete a year-long celebration of 150 years of statehood, the Nebraska National Guard celebrated two milestones in December.

On Dec. 13 the National Guard marked its 381st birthday, harkening back to its formation in 1636 by the Massachusetts General Court in Salem. Two centuries later, the Nebraska National Guard was established on Dec. 23, 1854, when acting territorial Governor Thomas Cuming issued a proclamation organizing two militia regiments, one north and one south of the Platte River.

The Nebraska National Guard consists of 3,314 soldiers and 1,012 airmen, supported by 161 federal and state civilian employees, serving in facilities in 23 communities across the state. Our strength comes from our citizen soldiers and airmen who hail from nearly all 93 counties, and the families and civilian employers who support them. Our mission is to prepare combat ready forces and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens.

This past year four Nebraska Army National Guard units and dozens of Nebraska Airmen returned home from deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar and other locations around the world. As they returned, three units began deployments to places like Cuba and the Horn of Africa. We do this with an all-volunteer force who leave their families behind to do our nation’s work.

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In 2017, we carried out the longest continuous out-of-state disaster response operation in Nebraska National Guard history when hundreds of soldiers and airmen responded when three separate hurricanes unleashed unimaginable devastation upon Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nebraskans should take enormous pride knowing they made a major difference in the lives of those affected.

The Nebraska National Guard is also building important local, national, and international partnerships. One example is we, along with the Texas National Guard, continue to work closely with our Czech Republic partners – a State Partnership Program effort that will mark its 25th anniversary next July.

The war fight, defense of the homeland, and our partnerships continue to shape the Nebraska National Guard. Yet, our ties to our original militia heritage remain as strong as ever. Just like our forbearers, we are prepared to lay down our plowshares and pick up our muskets whenever our state and nation calls. We stand with and for Nebraska because we are a part of the fabric of our great state. With our fellow Nebraskans’ amazing support, your Nebraska National Guard continues to be Always Ready, Always There.

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