The National Guard enters its seventh season as sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The National Guard's roots date back to 1636, when colonial militias–made up of ordinary citizens–put down their plows and picked up their weapons to protect their families and towns. Today, the Citizen-Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while training part time, staying ready to defend America in the event of an emergency. Serving both the state and federal governments, the Guard is unique in that its units are combat-trained and can be deployed overseas or in their own communities–training just one weekend per month, and one two-week period each year.