By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public AffairsDSC_2631.jpg

The National Guard celebrated its 385th Birthday on Dec. 13. Fort Jackson shared in the celebration with fellow South Carolina National Guard members with cake and guest speaker Brig. Gen. David M. Jenkins, Assistant Adjutant General of the South Carolina National Guard.

“Why do we celebrate,” said Col. Byron Williams, Chief of Staff, Senior Guard Advisor to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson. “I think this a great opportunity for us to gather together and reflect on the more than 350,000 uniformed service members that are currently serving and those that have come before us.”

Established in 1636 with roots in the American Revolutionary War, the National Guard is the oldest American military component. Its Soldiers serve in military operations globally in addition to state sanctioned events and in times of crisis. It is also the only military component that can serve at a state and federal level.

“We trace our lineage to the colonization of America,” Jenkins said. “They were called minutemen because they had to respond to the call in a minutes notice. We retain that same minutemen mentality. We have over 440,000 service members both Army and air across 54 states and territories. We take great pride in being ready, relevant, resilient and responsible force with dual status.”

As the guest speaker concluded his comments, the youngest and oldest National Guard members on Fort Jackson joined their command team to officially cut the birthday cake. With a swift stroke, the cake was cut and served to those in attendance.

“Thank you for what you do every single day for the people of South Carolina, the nation and the world,” said Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, Fort Jackson commanding general. “Happy birthday.”