Happy birthday to the National Guard! 

The military organization we know today as the National Guard came into existence on December 13, 1636 when the Massachusetts General Court in Salem, ordered the militia companies around Boston to form militia "regiments

On Friday, soldiers and airmen gathered at the Hall of Flags at the Tennessee National Guard Headquarters in Nashville to celebrate that legacy with the National Guard's 383rd birthday.

“It’s the oldest and one of the proudest military institutions in the United States,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “First organized in 1636, this commemoration marks a milestone in our nation’s history.”

Holmes, the state's senior officer, cut the cake with Pfc. Lindsey Jackson and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Rodriguez -- who serve with Nashville's 301st Troop Command and Joint Forces Headquarters, respectively. 

It's customary that both the oldest and most junior service member in attendance are given the honor of cutting the cake with the senior officer. Rodriguez represented the Guard's past while Jackson represented the Guard's future.

National Guard 383 birthday

“It’s an honor to be asked to take part in this ceremony today,” said Jackson. “I’m proud to be a part of an organization that has been defending this country for over 380 years.”

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The cakes were donated by the Association of the U.S. Army.

Tennessee is the tenth largest National Guard state and the fourth largest deploying state since September 11, 2001. More than 30,000 Tennessee Army and Air National Guardsmen have been deployed overseas in support of the War on Terror, with 22 members who gave their life in the line of service.