Celebrating the National Guard’s 381st Anniversary


By Debbie Gregory.

On December 13, 1636, the Massachusetts General Court in Salem issued an order requiring all able-bodied men between 16 and 60 years old to create a standing Army for protection. With that order, what we now know as the National Guard was born.

Celebrating its 381st anniversary, the National Guard is integrated with the active Army and Air Force to meet the demands of our Nation’s security and our local communities. Our Soldiers and Airmen actively serve at home, and overseas. Since 9/11, Guard members have deployed over 850,000 times, and today we have, on average, over 30,000 Guardsmen mobilized around the world in support of our warfighting commanders.

When the U.S. entered WWI 100 years ago, the bulk of the initial U.S. forces for the first year were comprised of National Guardsmen. The branch’s casualties were high, with more than 100,000 troops killed or wounded.

Traditionally, most National Guard personnel serve “One weekend a month, two weeks a year”, although those in high demand units (pilots, navigators and aircrewmen in active flying assignments) serve far more frequently. But the “One weekend a month, two weeks a year” slogan has lost most of its relevance since the Iraq War, when the country has relied far more on the participation of the National Guard.

What many people are not aware of, Agricultural Development Teams (ADTs) of soldiers and airmen from the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard provide classroom instruction and teachings about farming practices, most recently in Afghanistan.  Agricultural education improves lines of communication and builds trust between the people, the U.S. government, and the Host Nation.

More than just a slogan, “Always Ready …Always There!” is the mantra that has seen the service branch go from defending Massachusetts Bay in 1636 to protecting the U.S., at home and abroad, from harm, threats, and natural disasters.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Troops’ Biophysical Data Could Lead to Better Weapons, Performance



By Debbie Gregory.

Breakthroughs in biometric science mean future troops will fight with weapons that understand them,  inside and out.

The U.S. military is funding research to collect biophysical data from soldiers, sailors, Marines, and pilots in order to improve troops’ performance by understanding what’s happening inside their bodies.

The research will help develop the next generation of fighter jets, body armor, computer systems, and weapons, which will work more cohesively with those at the controls.

Pentagon-backed researchers are designing an entirely new generation of wearable health monitors that will relay valuable information about the person to whom the system is bound, including focus, alertness, health, and stress.

Over the past two years, the military has purchased more than $2 million worth of biomedical tracking devices. But it turns out that off-the-shelf consumer devices, such as Fitbits, aren’t good enough for the military’s biotracking ambitions.

That’s why researchers are creating a new class of wearables, based on new research into what size electrodes are the most efficient.

One application for such sensors would be helmets that record brain activity while their wearers do their jobs. Modern fighter jets expose human bodies to physical forces that are still not entirely understood. For example, in the past, F-22 pilots reported in-flight episodes of confusion, shortness of breath, and skin-color changes, which are symptoms of hypoxia, or decreased oxygen in the blood. These symptoms were due to speed.

Beyond helmets, Air Force researchers are working on a comprehensive cognitive monitoring system, one which may not need a physical sensor on the body, but rather the information would be gathered using cameras.

In fact, one research project configured a laptop camera lenses to detect hemoglobin oxygenation, which lets you read a person’s heart rate from a distance.

Sensors can also detect changes in metabolism that indicate weariness and stress before the person notices.

These innovations are making their way into actual gear and weapons. By 2020, Navy SEAL teams and Army Rangers could take down high-value targets while wearing an exoskeleton that’s earned the nickname ‘Iron Man.’

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.