California State Guard
|California State Guard|
Bear flag insignia
|Country||United States of America|
|Allegiance||State of California|
|Type||State defense force|
|Role||Provide an adequately trained and organized State military reserve force under the exclusive control of the Governor|
|Part of||California Military Department|
|Motto(s)||Ready to Respond|
World War II (home front)
|Commander-in-Chief||Governor of California Gavin Newsom|
|Commander||MG (CA) Jay Coggan|
|Command Sergeant Major||CSM (CA) Daniel M. DeGeorge|
|Shoulder sleeve insignia|
|Distinctive unit insignia|
The California State Guard (CSG) (formerly the California State Military Reserve) is one of three branches of the California Military Department. The CSG is a volunteer force that protects California and its citizens from natural and man-made disasters including: civil unrest, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and pandemics. The CSG also augments the California Army National Guard and Air National Guard when they are deployed. Many CSG units are fully integrated with CA Army and Air National Guard units. The CSG has four components, Army, Air, Maritime, and Operations.
Its current mission is articulated in California Military & Veteran's Code § 550:
For the 2020–2021 fiscal year, the CSG has 1200 volunteers and its state budget was $743,000.
The California State Guard (CSG) is authorized as a state defense force under the provisions of the Title 32, United States Code, Section 109(c) and the California State Military Reserve Act (codified in the California Military and Veterans Code). It has legal standing as part of California's Active Militia. Deployments are mandatory at times, therefore service members are covered under the USERRA as enacted by California state law (7 MVC 394 et. seq. and 566). Employers are required to comply with these laws during, and after, a service member is put on orders for a deployment.
Members and recruiting
The California State Guard consists of citizens or individuals who have begun their naturalization process, who possess a variety of skills; many members are veterans of the United States Armed Forces. All citizens over the age of 18, who are not felons, and possess a high school diploma or GED are eligible to apply for membership. Military veterans and those with specific special skills which materially contribute to the CSG's mission are of particular interest.
CSG service members are considered uncompensated state employees, although when called to Emergency State Active Duty (ESAD), they become compensated employees at the same rate as their National Guard counterparts.
Unlike the Civil Air Patrol or the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the California State Guard is a governmental military agency of the State with each service member subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) per CMVC § 560.
Training and qualifications
Former members of the U.S. Armed Forces are likely to have a smooth transition into the CSG. If the break in service is more than six years, the service member may need an adjustment period to come up to speed with modern National Guard practices. Any MOS qualifications, ribbons, medals, badges, or awards earned in federal service transfer directly; this includes "combat patches". Depending on the rank earned and length of time since separation, previously-held rank in those services also transfers.
CSG regulations require all service members to attend the Basic Orientation Course (BOC) which consists of basic military customs and courtesies and a general overview of the CSG. In addition, any service member entering the CSG in the southern region must attend an Initial Entry Training (IET) course. This is a five-month course where soldiers report to a student chain of command. They are given weekly homework and accountability tasks to strengthen unit cohesion and train soldiers on how to interact with the chain of command. Each month roles are switched around and new soldiers and sailors are assigned as squad leaders. Service members completing Echo track (final phase) graduate and are released to their gaining units. The course is similar to the federal boot-camp curriculum and training without the intensity of the physical component. Soldiers are required to maintain height and weight standards, done on the soldier's own time.
Other schools are available to soldiers who want to rise in rank. These include NCOA (Noncommissioned Officer's Academy) and OCS (Officer Candidate School). NCOA has three levels: BLC (Basic Leadership Course: E4-E5), ALC (Advanced Leadership Course: E5-E6), and SLC (Senior Leadership Course: E7 and above). These courses are broken into four or five live-in phases at Camp San Luis Obispo. OCS is an intensive course meeting five times at Camp San Luis Obispo for live-in phases. In addition, officers have Officer Professional Development (OPD) courses. In every course, work is done on-site and during the interim.
While prior federal service members retain any Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) qualification obtained previously, non-prior service members have no MOS qualification. These service members with civilian qualifications that meet or exceed Army standard for a particular MOS are used as Subject Matter Experts (SME) to train their National Guard counterparts. An example of this is the Small Arms Training Team (SATT), which is responsible for administering small arms training to the California National Guard.
The CSG has many units. Many of these units are directly embedded with their counter-part Army and Air National Guard units throughout the state. Non-aligned units stay within the CSG's command structure.
|California State Guard Headquarters
|Army Component Command Headquarters
|Maritime Component Headquarters (MARCOM)
| Air Command Headquarters
|Operation Group and Joint Commands
Operation Group Headquarters
The California State Guard Army Component Command is the largest section of the organization. Soldiers within this section serve in "aligned" units or stand alone units. Aligned units are CSG units which are directly connected to a California Army National Guard unit, often even sharing a common name. For example, the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard is the CNG parent unit to the CSG's 40 Infantry Division Support Detachment. Stand alone CSG units are units which do not have a direct CNG unit they support, but instead these units support the CNG as a whole, CSG, or other California Military Department sections. An example of this would be the Military Museum Command, where CSG historians serve to preserve, interpret, and protect California military history.
The California State Guard's Air Component are airmen (male and female) assigned to assist and support the California Air National Guard in their duties. These service members are (with few exceptions) prior service United States Air Force or CA Air National Guard. Their unique backgrounds help them to transition smoothly into this important command. There are currently units stationed alongside their federal airmen counterparts in various areas of the state. The Air Component is the only CSG command to have units stationed in the Inland Empire (March Air Reserve Base).
The California Military and Veterans Code also provides for a naval branch. The California Naval Militia was founded in 1891 and grew to have many ships and sailors at statewide ports, from San Diego to Eureka. It provided officers and sailors to the U.S. Navy during the Spanish–American War and World War I. The California Naval Militia was reactivated in 1976 by the Governor of California. Unlike New York and the few other states with ship-borne active naval militia units, the California Naval Militia was, until 2017, a small unit of military lawyers and strategists who provided advice and legal expertise in the field of military and naval matters for the benefit of California's state defense force. The California Naval Militia was last mustered into the Navy during World War I.
On 18 March 2017, the California State Guard established the Maritime Support Command (MARSCOM) under the command of CAPT (CA) M. Hanson, with SCPO (CA) E. Anderson as the MARSCOM Senior Enlisted Advisor, in a ceremony aboard the decommissioned WWII-era carrier USS Hornet.
The Operations Group helps support the California Military Department in many unique and important ways. For example, the Operations Group contains the Cyber Command where CSG soldiers work to defend against threat vectors in cyberspace. The Operations Group also houses important operational units such as the Search and Rescue Detachment, the Mission Support unit, and many other important units completing essential functions.
Emergency Response Command
The Emergency Response Command is CSG's rapid response force. As a joint command, it is has two detachments - Team Shield (Security Forces) and Team Blaze (Firefighting).
Team Shield - The primary mission of Team Shield is to protect critical infrastructure, military installations and assist civil authorities during times of emergency. Team Shield also works hand-in-hand with Team Blaze on fire missions providing access control and assisting local authorities with evacuation orders. Many of service members are civilian police and security professionals.
Team Blaze - Team Blaze responds to wildfires throughout California as CSG's firefighting unit. Team Blaze works with CAL FIRE, the state's firefighting service as a Type 2 Fire Team. These service members are called to the front lines to prevent, contain, and fight wildfires. Team members are specially trained to handle firefighting emergencies through an intensive wildfire training program.
Joint Medical Command
The California State Guard created a Joint Medical Command (JMC) on 18 July 2019. The JMC has the responsibility of overseeing a myriad of medical personnel in the California State Guard as they perform the mission of keeping California’s military service members and citizens healthy during times of emergency, and year-round. The JMC provides leadership to trained doctors, nurses, surgeons, and technicians who form the numerous medical teams ready to respond to state emergencies. These medical teams include medical staffing within the Army Component, Air Component, Joint Training Command, and Operations Command.
The Joint Medical Command oversees medical units trained to assist in both military and civilian facilities. Some of JMC’s responsibilities include: Medical screening of civilian and military personnel including medical accession screening to ensure mission-capable candidates, providing medical leadership and guidance to personnel under the command, and providing oversight and analysis of current medical missions and feasibility of future medical missions. Under the guidance of the JMC, military medical personnel at all levels have assisted our state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include Medical Logistics preparing ventilators for shipment at the EMSA Warehouse (the very first CSG Guard Medical Mission for COVID on 23 Mar 2020), CSG nurses supporting a civilian facility as requested by the California Office of Emergency Services CalOES, and a CSG Nurse/lab officer conducting laboratory analysis at the Sacramento County Public Health Laboratory. With the Joint Medical Command leading the way, these valuable service members are Ready to Respond!
Legal Support Command
The Legal Support Command (LSC) is a joint command of the CSG composed of Judge Advocates (JAGs or military attorneys), warrant officer legal administrators, enlisted paralegals, and other personnel in staff and support roles. CSG JAGs provide a full range of legal services to the CA National Guard, Air Guard, State Guard, and other Military Department programs, including Youth and Community Programs. CSG JAGs also provide critical legal assistance to individual service members and their families, which has included protecting deployed service members from civilian job loss, foreclosure, and repossession. JAGs typically work at National Guard armory or installation legal offices throughout the state, and they may go into the field to support exercises and operations.
The duties of a CSG JAG are consistent with the U.S. Army JAG Corps motto of “Soldier First, Lawyer Always.”
Legal responsibilities include:
- providing legal reviews, advice, and opinions to commanders and their staff
- providing legal training and briefings
- drafting regulations, legislation, memoranda, and other materials
- conducting legal research
- representing individual service members in administrative, judicial, or court-martial proceedings
- providing legal advice to service members.
CSG JAG Corps is currently seeking applicants with experience in military operational law, personnel law, environmental and land law, immigration law, ethics, state and federal contracting and procurement law, cyber defense and security, litigation, government law, and family law. The CSG JAG Corps is regularly seeking applicants in geographic areas with significant military populations. Prior military experience is desirable, but not required.
Duties / Unit Training Assemblies
The CSG accomplishes its mission by providing individual service members or full rapid response teams to Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) missions. There missions focus on the preparation, prevention, deterrence, preemption, defense, and mitigation of natural and man-made threats to California.
Unit Training Assemblies (often referred to as "drills") are training days one Saturday each month. Some units require two-day drills or more depending on their mission. These drills are very important times to conduct training sessions, activity coordination, and to work with National Guard counterparts. CSG soldiers embedded with National Guard units will drill the full weekend (or longer) with their National Guard unit.
Maritime Component: Standard U.S. Navy uniform following the same seasonal uniform change (Winter/Summer). The everyday working uniform is the NWU Type III, referred to as MWU (Maritime Working Uniform).
State Specific Designation: All uniforms have distinctive state insignia designating them as a member of the California State Guard. This includes the buttons on the ASU, which are the same as worn by the California Highway Patrol on its dress uniforms, a unique beret flash, and a name badge indicating the wearer is a member of the "CA State Guard". Utility uniform name tapes bear the word "California" rather than "U.S. Army", "U.S. Air Force" or" U.S. Navy". Unlike most SDFs, CSG personnel are honored to be authorized to wear the U.S. Flag on their right shoulder. Combat patches are worn on the right shoulder. Each component has a unique California unit patch worn on the left shoulder for non-aligned units which had not created a unique patch, aligned units may wear their National Guard's unit patch.
Awards and Decorations: Awards and decorations earned from prior service in other branches of the military may be worn, so it is not unusual to see a CSG Soldier wearing "water wings" earned while on active duty in the USN, and ribbons and decorations earned in other branches. CSG also has its own unique awards and decorations.
Cost: All officers and enlisted members are responsible for purchasing their uniforms and accessories. This could require an initial investment of $300 or more for utility uniforms, boots and accessories. Purchase of an ASU, rucksack, LBE, etc. adds substantially to the cost. A yearly $125 uniform allowance has been authorized for all CSG soldiers and airmen who have maintained 100% attendance in a twelve-month period.
DUIs: The Military Museum Command has a Distinctive Unit Insignia which is worn by members. Legal Support Command wears the DUI for JAG.
Recent Emergency Activations
2017: CSG service members were activated to assist during winter storms resulting in mudslides and flooding from February 1 to 23. A Major Disaster Declaration was issued on April 1.In 2017, the CSG was activated on ESAD orders against the Mendocino Complex Fire and the Carr Fire in 2017
2018: CSG service members were activated to assist with evacuations during the Camp Fire in Butte County in 2018.
2019: CSG service members were activated to assist with evacuations and rescue operations during high water levels at the Russian River in Guerneville. CSG members were also instrumental in emergency management operations after the Ridgecrest earthquake in July 2019.
2020: CSG elements were activated to provide emergency pre-hospital response to patients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional activations occurred for civil unrest, humanitarian, and wildland fire missions.
Notable Fire Responses (2000-2010)
A large-scale operation of the CSG was during Operation Fall Blaze in October/November 2007, in which over 100 citizen soldiers of the CASG were integrated with their National Guard counterparts to help firefighters fight the California wildfires.
The CSG took an active and vital role in the 2008 Operation Lightning Strike, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on over 2,000 troops from the California Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and California State Guard to help overwhelmed firefighters fight statewide wildfires.
- Military of the United States
- National Guard
- California Wing Civil Air Patrol
- California Military Department
- California Maritime Academy—an unrelated maritime academy/university which is operated by the California State University.
- California Military Academy—an unrelated military training academy run by the California Army National Guard
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