Guarding Traditions, Embracing the Future: An Insight into the Governors Guards’ Annual Training

The Governors Guards (State Defense Force), an iconic assembly of four distinct companies, comprising of The First and Second Company Horse Guard, along with The First and Second Company Foot Guard, have recently initiated their Annual Training (AT). They are now halfway through their intensive training week. Annual Training is the heart of both The National Guard and State Defense Forces training regimen as it ensures each and every unit can perform any and all missions assigned to their forces.

One component of AT every soldier will experience is Drill & Ceremony (D&C) training. This critical training ensures soldiers can instinctively perform the detailed choreography that are hallmarks of their public parades and events. During this training the soldiers train heavily on their Master of Arms, where the focus is on the the classic Brown Bess musket. This weapons has a unique and legendary position in American history as it was the weapo used by The US Army during The American Revolution. These muskets play a pivotal role in today’s ceremonies.

Alongside all this heavy and extensive training, physical training (PT) is also a vital aspect of AT. Physical training equips soldiers with the strength and endurance needed for the demanding nature of military operations, ensuring optimal performance in challenging environments. Additionally, it fosters mental strength and discipline, crucial for decision-making and stress management during missions.

The Governors Guards are also training on The US Military’s Firearms Training System (FATS)—a state-of-the-art simulator. This cutting-edge platform integrates the pinnacle of interactive digital technology, immersing soldiers in meticulously designed real-world scenarios. The goal is to sharpen their decision-making skills in situations where the application of force is crucial.

During periods when they weren’t participating in PT, D&C, and other exercises, soldiers took part in informative classroom sessions directed by Colonel Timothy J. Tomcho, the Staff Judge Advocate from the Connecticut Military Department. Colonel Tomcho’s teachings encompassed a broad scope, enlightening the soldiers on the Connecticut Military Statutes that govern the Governor’s Guards. Furthermore, he delved into rights and protections offered to service members at both the State and Federal levels, emphasizing acts like The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This act ensures that military personnel can take leave for their service duties and subsequently return to their civilian jobs without repercussions.

Lastly, this year’s AT sees the introduction of the Sig Sauer M17 as a qualification firearm. This firearm is the official pistol of Connecticut’s Armed Forces. All Connecticut Army National Guard & Air National Guard troops are certified with this firearm and now so will the Governors Guards. This training is very important as it will ensure every State Defense Force soldier is qualified with the weapon should the need ever arise that they were needed by The National Guard to augment specific National Guard units in security missions.

The Governors Guards embody a unique blend where historical practices seamlessly merge with contemporary tactical approaches. By honoring their past while adapting to the present, they ensure a legacy that remains relevant and effective in today’s dynamic defense landscape.

Today starts a week of training for the Connecticut Governor’s Guards which is held annually at Camp Net in Niantic. Throughout the week the combined companies of both the Footguards and the Horseguards will engage in further training in D&C, Manual of Arms, Firearms Qualification and matters relevant to the execution of their missions. Stayed tuned for our week’s adventure updates as we continue to be ready, willing, and able to serve the Citizens of the State of Connecticut!


















For the next week, The First Company Governor’s Foot Guard joins Connecticut’s 3 other State Militia companies in Annual Training at Camp Nett at Niantic.
During this time, the First Company will take part in expansive training from classroom and field work to weapons qualification in order to ensure mission ready preparedness for the future needs of the State of Connecticut and its citizens.


SAFETY FIRST – Whether utilizing live functional firearms or simulated training systems, safety is a priority in everything we do. The soldiers of the 2nd Company received instructions on the familiarization, safe deployment of, and utilization of side arms this week at annual training. This important training is designed to keep the Connecticut Governor’s Guards “Mission Ready” and able to serve the community should the need arise.
Lt. Steven Allinson and Sgt. Pete Leonardo dutifully instructed new recruits as well as seasoned soldiers on the principals of safe firearms handling. 1st Sgt. Victor Antonio, (certified in the operation of the FATS system) ran soldiers through simulated range training before being rotated to live firing sessions.
The Firearms Training System (FATS) utilizes digital interactive training technology, allowing soldiers to develop decision-making skills by responding to real-life scenarios where force may be necessary.


Starting out Day 3 with hands on musket training on a beautiful morning at camp.












Another day of intense training in our week long endevour to maintain our “Mission Ready” status!
The 4 combined Companies of the State of Connecticut Governor’s Guards assembled en mass for sidearm qualification on the Sig Sauer M17, the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of the State of Connecticut. Lt. Steven Allinson, of the 2nd Company served as Officer in Charge for the day, and with the assistance of his fellow Officers and Senior NCOs successfully ran all soldiers through the course of fire.
It was a jammed packed day with no down time in between qualifying courses for our soldiers. When not engaged in qualifying, soldiers attended classroom training sessions led by COL Timothy J. Tomcho, Staff Judge Advocate from the Connecticut Military Department on laws, policies, and orders.
COL Tomcho educated soldiers not only on Connecticut General Statutes regulating the Governor’s Guards, but also on the protections afforded to service members both at the State and Federal level such as The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) which grants military service members the right to take a leave for military service and then to return to their previous jobs. The USERRA was passed as an attempt to remove obstacles to military service and minimize disadvantages service members face after returning from military leave of absence. The law ensures that those who serve their country or state can seek employment without discrimination for their service, including the right to return to their civilian employment, accrued seniority, and benefits.


Sources: Connecticut Foot GuardConnecticut Foot Guard

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