The Missions of the California State Guard

Here is a quick rundown of some of the major missions the California State Guard (State Defense Force) are active in.


The California State Guard: Ready to Respond

by CPT (CA) May Whitaker

The volunteer service members of the California State Guard (CSG) train year-round to be ready to respond to state emergencies, both natural and man-made. Since the start of the new year, the CSG has been busier than ever before.

In February, the CSG activated its new Emergency Response Command (ERC) (unit patch, photo left). The ERC is a rapid-response command currently consisting of wildland firefighting crews and fixed-point installation security forces. Unlike the National Guard, which is unable to train together as a unit year-round for wildfire response, the ERC wildfire detachment iscontinually CalFire-certified and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Similarly, the ERC security forces provide an additional relief valve for the National Guard to maintain their federal readiness by freeing up federal resources that might otherwise be needed at the state emergency response level.
Each weekend in March was filled with CSG training activities. First, our Operations Group (OPS Group) held a training exercise at Camp San Luis Obispo (CSLO). Using their new Remote Piloted Aircraft, OPS Group practiced sending live aerial footage to Joint Force Headquarters in Sacramento as well as to their Tactical Operations Center setup in the field for the exercise (photo right). OPS Group Search and Rescue teams also practiced their ground game with time-tested pace counting and other techniques to help navigate backcountry rescue without technological assistance.
Meanwhile, some three hundred miles south, our Maritime Component (MARCOM) were able to outfit their inflatable rescue boats with brand new motors to conduct water rescue training at Dana Point Marina (photo left). The CSG stands poised to deliver a unique synergy of search and rescue response capability from air, sea, and land.

At the end of March, the next generation of CSG officers received their first phase of basic instruction at our training facility in CSLO. Students learned basic drill and ceremony, military customs and courtesies, and military doctrines in leadership, command, and followership(photo right).

Finally, the Commanding General of the CSG, MG (CA) Jay Coggan, recorded his first podcast interview with Morning Briefing on behalf of the State Guard Association of the United States, highlighting the groundbreaking and important work being done across the country for greater recognition and resourcing of state defense forces( Nearly all of the equipment featured in this article was purchased through private donations to the California State Guard Foundation.

If you are a California citizen who is Ready to Respond, visit or email the author for more information:

Source: Captain May Whitaker, California State Guard

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