The National Guard's roots date back to 1636, when colonial militias made up of ordinary citizens would put down their plows and pick up weapons to protect families and towns from hostile attacks. Today, Citizen-Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.
The National Guard serves both state and federal governments. While the Guard originally focused on protecting local communities, it eventually grew into a force that complements the Active Duty Army when help is needed anywhere in the world. The biggest difference compared to other branches is that while Guard units are combat-trained and can be deployed overseas, they are just as likely to serve in their home communities.