"I am the Guard. For three centuries the custodian of security and honor, now and forever... I am the Guard."

Those words from a poem were read aloud to begin the celebration for Guardsmen assigned to Fort Leonard Wood who participated in the Army National Guard's 378th birthday ceremony held Friday in Lincoln Hall Atrium.

"The Guard has long been a total force partner here on Fort Leonard Wood," Danner said. "We know how fortunate we are to work so closely with our active-duty partners and have a home here."

Danner said he is happy to report that the invaluable experience the Guard has received in their overseas deployments has benefited their stateside mission as well.

"2014 has been an outstanding year for the Missouri National Guard," Danner said. "In addition to bringing the last of our deployed combat-units home, we continue to grow in strength and skill."

Master Sgt. Lori Fields, oldest Missouri Army National Guard member present, and Pfc. Jordan Ruiz, youngest MOARNG member present, cut the birthday cake, with help from Danner.

The Army National Guard was created Dec. 13, 1636 in Massachusetts.