Clark Howard: Why I Decided to Serve My Country by Joining the State Guard

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Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t thank me for my service in the military, but they don’t know what part of the military I’m in! I’d like to explain.

I enlisted in my State Guard in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. My state guard is an all-volunteer group known as the Georgia State Defense Force. When I first heard about this opportunity, I had no idea what or who they were.

All About the State Guard: Here’s How I Serve My Country

The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) is the all-volunteer, uniformed, unpaid branch of the Georgia Department of Defense, which includes the Army and Air National Guard.

The State Defense Force allows veterans and those who have never served in the armed forces the opportunity for uniformed service to help their fellow citizens.

What Are the Duties of the State Guard?

1. The SDF serves as the replacement for the National Guard if the Guard is called into federal service. In that case, the SDF would expand its ranks and prepare to perform tasks within the state as required by the Governor.

2. In “peacetime” SDF provides support to the Georgia National Guard Soldiers by assisting with pre-deployment and mobilization readiness and administration of National Guard units. A major task is to provide assistance to the families of Guardsmen ordered into federal service.

It supports the National Guard’s state missions by performing a variety of community support tasks, including:

  • Ceremonial functions such as parade color guards
  • Support for local public events
  • Response during natural or man-made disasters and emergencies.

During such emergencies, SDF volunteers may assist state and local emergency management offices and local law enforcement in search and rescue operations, evacuation and traffic control.

Other duties may include assessing the extent of damage, isolating areas of potential hazard to the public and assisting service agencies operating emergency public shelters.

Who Can Join the State Defense Force?

No experience is required. We welcome all adult citizens between the ages of 18 and 64. Membership is voluntary. You will be sworn in as required by state law. All applicants undergo a background check.

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Our ranks are filled with the young and old, men and women of all races, religions and creeds, doctors, lawyers, business people, clergymen and homemakers. A patriotic desire to serve their community and state is their common bond.

How Can You Join?

Learn more about joining Georgia’s SDF at the Georgia State Defense Force official website. If you contact the GSDF, include your name, mailing address, telephone number and a brief description of your educational, military and civilian experience.

Here Is the Contact Information for State Guards for Some Other States:

StateOrganization Name
AlabamaAlabama State Defense Force
AlaskaAlaska State Defense Force
CaliforniaCalifornia State Military Reserve
ConnecticutConnecticut National Guard
GeorgiaGeorgia State Defense Force
IndianaIndiana Guard Reserve
MarylandMaryland Defense Force
MichiganMichigan Volunteer Defense Force
MississippiThe Mississippi State Guard
New MexicoThe New Mexico State Defense Force
New YorkNew York Guard
North CarolinaNorth Carolina State Guard
OhioOhio Military Reserve
OregonThe Oregon State Defense Force
Puerto RicoThe Puerto Rico State Guard
South CarolinaThe South Carolina State Guard
TennesseeThe Tennessee State Guard
TexasTexas State Guard
VermontVermont State Guard
VirginiaThe Virginia State Defense Force
WashingtonThe Washington State Guard
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