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PA Defenders - Always Ready

A Chinook taxis on the 171st Ramp

A CH-47 Chinook aircraft assigned to the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania National Guard, taxies past hangar 301 at the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, May 30, 2020, near Pittsburgh. By combining Air Force and Army assets, the Pennsylvania Nation Guard is extremely capable of quick and affective reaction in any state emergency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover)

a soldier attaches a strap to the front of a fork lift

A Pennsylvania National Guardsman is attaching a strap to a forklift to assist in unloading equipment from a CH-47 Chinook aircraft, May 30, 2020, near Pittsburgh. The Chinook is delivering personal protective equipment to guardsmen temporarily assigned at the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover)

a convoy of humvees

Pennsylvania National Guard members from various regional barracks arrive in military vehicles to begin staging at the 171st Air Refueling Wing in the event that the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should call for a rapid response to nearby potential riots, May 30, 2020, near Pittsburgh. The National Guard serves both community and country responding to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counter-drug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover)

a chinook approaches the 171st Air refueling wing ramp to land.

A CH-47 Chinook aircraft assigned to the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania National Guard, flies above the east ramp at the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, May 30, 2020, near Pittsburgh. The Chinook flew across the state to deliver personal protective equipment for guardsmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover)

Coraolopis, Pa. --

The Pennsylvania Guard has served, supported and protected American citizens well before we declared our independence. In 1747, nearly 30 years before the declaration was signed, Benjamin Franklin led a group of individuals which turning into the development of a volunteer militia. The militia consisted of people from small villages, towns and robust cities like Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. During the Civil War, President Lincoln called on these volunteers to fight for the union and Guardsmen quickly assembled, earning the nickname “The First Defenders.”

Almost 300 years later, guardsmen are still members of our communities, and when called upon, they answer. They train and prepare and are ready to protect each one of us by stepping forward as an American defender. Today, our nation is defended by over 450,000 Guardsmen from all 50 states and U.S. territories that have sworn to defend the constitution of the U.S.

When our nation was attacked September 11, 2001, Guardsmen left their homes to fight against our enemies. Likewise, when COVID-19 began to spread at dangerously high rates, guardsmen were ready to help safeguard their states.

Guardsmen partnered with food banks to help sort, package and distribute food to those impacted by COVID-19. They established field hospitals and testing sites so citizens had immediate access to medical attention. They transported equipment to the regions that needed it the most. When the world began to shut down, Guardsmen stepped up. 

Every U.S. state has its own National Guard including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The National guard is a combination of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. These soldiers and airmen are the only U.S. service members to serve both their state, and Country.  

Since 9/11, the Pennsylvania National Guard has become one of the most deployed in our nation. More than 35,000 Pennsylvania citizens have deployed worldwide over the past 19 years. However, the strength of the National Guard lays in the blending of Air Force, Army and civilian skills. Therefore, the National Guard is one of the most capable and adaptive forces in the world. From “The First Defenders” to today’s Guardsmen, the PANG is and always has been ready. 

Pennsylvania is a commonwealth of guardians. Guardians that have volunteered to train, prepare and protect because just like you, this is their home. They are guardians that have pledged, they will always be there when called upon because they live here, train here and serve here, in the commonwealth. They have and always will be our nation’s sword and shield, it’s sentry and avenger. They are guardians of freedom, and the American way of life. These guardians are American Soldiers and American Airmen. They will never falter, and they will not fail!