Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below is our FAQ section. Take a look at the following questions and learn more about The State Defense Force.
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1. Are State Defense Forces a real Military or Just Militias?
The State Defense Forces are true military entities under State law and are under The command of The Governor of The State and Adjutant General (Senior National Guard Commander of the State). They are subject to the same Military Law & Regulations as the Army National Guard, Air National Guard or Naval Militia (US Navy Reserve & US Marine Corps Reserve).
*Florida State Guard (State Defense Force) has been classified by the Governor of Florida as a civilian agency, not as a military organization.
2. What kind of training do they get?
State Defense Forces receive a great deal of training from medical, Search & Rescue, Communications, Logistics and much more. Each course is designed to provide each Soldier the training they need to fulfill their roles in the field. State Defense Forces focus their training on the needs of Their National Guard. For Example. The Maryland State Defense Force has a large medical component and augments Their National Guard frequently, so when they train they will focus on this skill set.
Contact your local State Defense Force unit to see what jobs they offer.
3. Do State Defense Forces get uniforms issued?
Enlisted are issued uniforms and gear, but officers have to purchase them. However rules and regulations vary from State to State. Contact your local State Defense Force for more information.
4. Do State Defense Forces get firearm training?
Most State Defense Forces do not receive firearms training as they are support elements for the National Guard and are not deployed to combat zones.
5. Can The State Defense Force send me overseas?
States can only deploy you out of state if you volunteer for such a mission. One example of this is the Maryland State Defense Force 10th Medical Regiment did Volunteer for a Medical / Humanitarian mission with the Maryland Air National Guard to Bosnia – Herzegovina in 2006.
6. Can The State Defense Force fight in combat?
No, State Defense Forces are support and augmentation forces for The National Guard.
7. Were State Defense Forces ever in combat?
During World War 1 and World War 2, some State Defense Forces were involved in conflict with Axis forces on the Home Front. For example, In World War 1, the New York Guard was tasked with defending vital resources and infrastructure throughout the state. They exchanged fire with enemy agents who were trying to sabotage these facilities.
8. Were State Defense Forces ever involved in a war?
State Defense Forces did serve on the home front during World War 1, World War 2, The Korean War, The Cold War and currently The War on Terror. They have been used to provide military security throughout the state in times of war. State Defense Forces have been used during riots in WW2, foiled german sabotage of The NY State Aqueduct, and provided troops to defend against a Japanese invasion in WW2. Currently State Defense Forces are involved in Homeland Defense operations in The War on Terror.
9. Do State Defense Forces have tanks?
10. Do State Defense Forces have airplanes?
Yes. Some State Defense Forces have aircraft. They are utilized for airborne reconnaissance for events such as wildfires, earthquakes, & other natural disasters.
11. Do State Defense Forces have military trucks?
Yes. Some State Defense Forces have military velichle’s that carry equipment, gear and troops.
12. Are State Defense Force troops Soldiers?
Yes. Since they are military entities, the members of a State Defense Force are known as Soldiers.
13. Do I go to Basic Training?
Yes. State Defense Forces provide a ‘Basic Training’ to recruits who have never served in the military.
14. How long is Basic Training?
This varies in length from State To State. Some states have their basic training at a week long.
15. During Basic Training, what will I learn?
You will learn Basic Military courtesy, military discipline, how to follow The State UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), undergo Physical Training, Drill & Ceremony, and Land Navigation. Some of the training varies from state to state.
16. Will I get yelled at in Basic Training?
Be Prepared for some Shouting.
17. After Basic Training where do I go?
You go back to the unit that recruited you.
18. What is my commitment to The State Defense Force?
Most State Defense Forces require at least 1 weekend a month.
19. Since I am a volunteer, can I just decide to quit anytime?
While on duty you are subject to The State Uniform Code of Military Justice. If you abandon your post you will be subject to the penalties of such a action.
20. What benefits do I get for serving?
The chance to serve your country and give something back to your country.
21. Do I get educational benefits?
Some States provide their troops with discounted tuitions rates for college.
22. Do I get any other benefits?
Benefits vary from State to State. New York provides free Hunting & Fishing licenses, while others provide Educational Opportunities. Contact your local State Defense Force unit for information about benefits or visit our Benefits Section of the website.
23. What type of protection do I get if my job objects to me serving?
Many States have laws protecting service members from discrimination based on military service.
24. How often will I get activated?
State Defense Forces are activated during times of emergency. Incidents such as hurricanes, flooding, large scale rioting, terrorist attacks and other large scale events.
25. Will I get paid during State Active Duty?
Most State Defense Forces are paid during times of emergency, you will receive pay based according to your rank.
26. Do I get paid for training?
No. State Defense Forces do not provide pay for training.
27. As a Prior Service Soldier, what rank do I recieve when joining The State Defense Force?
The Rank that you were Discharged with, or higher, depending on the education you received after leaving The US Military.
28. As a Prior Service Soldier, Can I wear my CIB (Combat Infantry Badge)?
Yes, State Defense Forces honor the achievements you accomplished during your US Military service.
29. As a Prior Service Soldier, Can I wear my Combat Patch?
Yes, State Defense Forces will allow you to wear your combat patch that you earned while in the National Guard or US Armed Forces.
30. During my service I was wounded and have a amputated limb, can I still serve in The State Defense Forces?
Yes, State Defense Forces currently have Veterans serving, who have amputated limbs.
31. Are State Defense Force troops upheld to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) / State Military Law?
Yes, State Defense Force soldiers are required by law to adhere to the State’s Uniform Code of Military Justice. The same state military laws that apply to National Guard troops that are under State Active Duty also apply to State Defense Force troops.
32. What happens if I violate the UCMJ / State Military Law by going AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave)?
The State Military can issue a warrant for your arrest.
- State Defense Forces / State Guards require Non-Prior Service recruits to undergo an Initial Entry Training Program (Basic Training) to get acquainted with military customs, drill & ceremony, military verbiage, physical fitness, and other specialties. Coast Guard Auxiliary & Civil Air Patrol members do not go through such a program.
- During Times of War, such as World War I & World War II, State Defense Forces / State Guards were tasked by the Governor of the State & Adjutant General (Senior National Guard Commander) to assume the duties and responsibilities of the Army National Guard & Air National Guard while these forces were deployed overseas for combat duties. The Coast Guard Auxilary & Civil Air Patrol cannot be not assigned such duties.