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The Army National Guard predates the founding of the nation and a standing military by almost a century and a half - and is therefore the oldest component of the United States armed forces Americas first permanent militia regiments among the oldest continuing units in history were organized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636 Since that time the Guard has participated in every US conflict from the Pequot War of 1637 to our current deployments in support of Operation Joint Forge Todays National Guard is the direct descendent of the militias of the thirteen original English colonies The first English settlers brought many cultural influences and English military ideas with them For most of its history England had no full-time professional Army The English had relied on a militia of citizen-soldiers who had the obligation to assist in national defense The first colonists in Virginia and Massachusetts knew that they had to rely on themselves for their own defense Although the colonists feared the traditional enemies of England the Spanish and Dutch their main threat came from the thousands of native Americans who surrounded them Initially relations with the Indians were relatively peaceful but as the colonists took more and more of the Indians land war became inevitable In 1622 Indians massacred nearly one quarter of the English settlers in Virginia In 1637 the English settlers in New England went to war against the Pequot Indians of Connecticut These first Indian wars began a pattern which was to continue on the American frontier for the next 250 years - a type of warfare that the colonists had not experienced in Europe By the time of the French and Indian War which began in 1754 the colonists had been fighting Indians for generations To augment their forces in North America the British recruited regiments of Provincials from the militia These colonial regiments brought to the British Army badly-needed skills in frontier warfare
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