Dec. 15, 2011

Governor McDonnell recognizes National Guard's 375th Birthday

By Cotton Puryear 
Virginia Department of Military Affairs

RICHMOND — Governor Bob McDonnell recognized the 375th birthday of the National Guard Dec. 13 with the presentation of a Certificate of Recognition to Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, at the Patrick Henry Building. He also thanked senior leaders of the Virginia Guard attending the presentation for the outstanding service of Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen in the commonwealth as well as overseas.

 

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, shakes hands with Gov. Bob McDonnell as he receives a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the 375th Birthday of the National Guard Dec. 13 in Richmond. (Photo by Michaele White, Governor's Press Office)

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McDonnell said that he and Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker are “absolutely thrilled” with what the Guard has been able to accomplish. “It is a group of consummate professionals, and what we have asked from you over the last decade has really been tremendous with supporting a two-front war and multiple missions around the world. It has been a phenomenal amount of teamwork.”

He also commended the Guard for its work during the winter storms that came soon after his inauguration where the Guard was “tirelessly working to do what needed to be done” to help emergency service organizations respond to the record storms.

“It was an incredible number of missions we asked you to do, and without question and without fail, you accomplished ever mission we gave you and then some,” McDonnell said. “I am very grateful for what you have accomplished.”

As Virginia’s governor, McDonnell serves as the commander in chief for more than 10,000 members of the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force.

“While the National Guard recognizes it official birthday in 1636 in Massachusetts, we trace the heritage and traditions of the selfless service of citizen soldiers back to the founding of Jamestown in 1607,” McDonnell said. “Those traditions live on today throughout the Commonwealth, through all of the branches of the armed forces serving here, as well as the thousands of veterans who call Virginia home. Without the sacrifices made by these great Americans, we would not enjoy the freedoms we have today. As George Washington once said, ‘The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.’ This is our time to give thanks to these brave men and women for their service.”

Approximately 1,100 Virginia National Guard Soldiers are scheduled to return from Iraq in December. After those 1,100 Soldiers have returned, about 260 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen will still be on federal active duty in Afghanistan and other locations across the world.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 14,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have served on federal active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Their missions have ranged from helping to maintain security in the United States to furthering the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, to serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The full text of the Certificate of Recognition is copied below.

375th Birthday of the National Guard
http://www.governor.virginia.gov/OurCommonwealth/Proclamations/2011/Nationalguard.cfm

WHEREAS, the National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation's longest-enduring institutions; and

WHEREAS, on December 13, 1636, the first permanent militia regiments in Colonial America were constituted and organized by the General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay and the day is recognized as the “first muster” and official birthday of the National Guard; and

WHEREAS, Virginia traces the heritage and traditions of the selfless service of Citizen Soldiers to the founding of the Jamestown Colony in 1607; and

WHEREAS, Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Tyler all served as officers in the Virginia militia; and

WHEREAS, the courageous Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard have made outstanding and valuable contributions to the defense of the United States, the security of the Commonwealth and have advanced the cause of freedom around the world; and

WHEREAS, these same Soldiers and Airmen have put themselves in harm's way, fought bravely, made great sacrifices and provided an example of selfless service for all the citizens of the Commonwealth and the nation; and

WHEREAS, from the American Revolution to the American Civil War, from World War I to D-Day, from Operation Desert Storm to Iraq and Afghanistan, Virginia Soldiers and Airmen have demonstrated unmatched courage, dedication and willingness to sacrifice to accomplish any mission; and

WHEREAS, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, more than 14,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have served on federal active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, helping to maintain security in the United States and further the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Kosovo; and

WHEREAS, Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have responded to numerous floods, hurricanes, snow storms and other natural disasters to support state and local authorities provide assistance to citizens of the Commonwealth as well as citizens in neighboring states in their time of need; and

WHEREAS, the Virginia National Guard strives to be a relevant and rapidly responding force that is staffed, equipped and trained to meet all federal and state requirements and is prepared to deploy as directed by the Governor to assist state and local authorities to protect life and property, preserve peace, order and public safety;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize December 13, 2011 as the 375th BIRTHDAY OF THE NATIONAL GUARD in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

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