National Guard birthday questioned

Several readers questioned last month’s article on the Illinois National Guard celebrating its 290th birthday. In honoring the service and history of our National Guard we missed the obvious question. How could the Illinois National Guard be 290 years old when the country isn’t even that old? Here is the answer.

The birth date of the Illinois National Guard – May 9, 1723 – was determined last year after months of research by Illinois National Guard Command Historian Adriana Schroeder of Springfield. The diary of a French territorial captain, Diron Dartaguiette, was the ­primary source for the date. In the diary, Dartaguiette said he called together the village of Kaskaskia because he was ordered to form a company of military to defend ­themselves. The date the armed villagers first gathered and drilled was May 9, 1723. “When I found the diary entry, I knew I struck gold,” Schroeder said. “It was the gem I had been waiting for.”

“Our first muster gives us a reference point to truly understand the rich history of this organization, which we can share with our communities and our ­families,” Brig. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard said. In addition to serving in every major United States conflict, the Illinois National Guard has conducted peacekeeping missions around the globe, including in Egypt and the Ukraine.