Anyone have experience with state defense forces?

Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by sanantone, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. dfreybur

    dfreybur New Member

    One of the guys at the office tried to join the Texas State Guard. It's not clear if he failed to pass the fitness requirements as he's medically discharged former Army. He reports them as a club that gets to meet on base except when they deploy to help out on floods and other natural disasters.

    A penpal friend who lives in Minnesota is a retired IT guy. He volunteers for the Red Cross. A couple of times per year he gets on a plane and spends a month somewhere in the world running the computers and sleeping on a cot in response to some weather disaster. He's been to a lot of the Americas at this point. He has never mentioned benefits just that he likes staying involved.
  2. sube

    sube Member

    I'm a member of the USCG Aux and have been for many years. I've enjoyed my time in the organization. There are uniform hogs here and there, but not nearly as many as there were when I first joined and it's easy enough to avoid them by focusing more on directly augmenting the USCG. I'm there to assist the USCG which has major funding issues and needs the help, especially in our area, and I don't care about whatever uniform I'm wearing. Frankly, I'd be happy if they stopped requiring the Aux to wear uniforms. Too expensive to buy and upkeep and since I was never in the military, I feel strange wearing them.
  3. BruceP

    BruceP Member

    I am retired military and an SDF member. I have found that SDF's can be anything from a very valuable resource for the state to a total waste of time. The difference is in the leadership of the SDF and the confidence of the State TAG (The Adjutant General - who is the Commander of the National Guard) in their SDF. If the TAG has low confidence in his/her SDF, the missions that they are allowed to participate in are minimal (i.e. traffic control, parking and other support at community events). If the SDF is well led, trained and organized, and has the confidence of the TAG their missions can be very cost-effective and beneficial to the citizens of the state when their needs are the greatest.

    There are many highly trained and qualified troops in our SDF. Many are professionals in civilian life, first responders, teachers, clergy, physicians, nurses, attorneys, etc. There are many prior service veterans and quite a few non-prior service... the key point here is that we are all volunteers, giving up our own time to serve. So yes... there are wanna-be's... there are the too old to serve elsewhere... there are also those with health issues... although I have seen increasing emphasis placed on appearance (weight proportional to height) and physical fitness. The key thing is that together we form a critical volunteer resource for the citizens of our great states to use when we are needed most.
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I've heard that some SDFs do very little. I heard that California and Texas are the most active. Texas utilizes its Medical Brigade every year to provide healthcare to the Rio Grande Valley, which has a lack of healthcare access. Texas also started enforcing its weight standards in 2016. IIRC, Texas has estimated that the State Guard has saved taxpayer millions with their emergency response operations.

    I've also heard good things about the air component of the Puerto Rico State Guard.
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Let me also clarify that in areas near large bodies of water, where the USCG Aux actually does stuff, it's been a more solid presence.

    But the flotilla I met with was in a very rural and very landlocked area. They were all recreational boaters who got together periodically to parade around in uniforms and have "events." If the USCG shut them down then they likely would have all lived on as a boating club.

    So that's a "that flotilla sucked" rather than a "USCG Aux sucks."
  6. BruceP

    BruceP Member

    The bottom line for SDF's... it's all about capabilities (physical fitness, training and availability), professionalism (military appearance and bearing), and leadership (from the commanding general on down). If those elements are present in the SDF the State (The Adjutant General, and in turn, the Governor) should trust the SDF enough to let them take on more important missions... otherwise they will probably never be allowed to do anything more than be "human traffic cones."
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    So, I found out that state employees in Texas can get military leave for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Civil Air Patrol, but military leave is also given for urban search and rescue, such as the FEMA-authorized groups in several states. Additionally, military leave is given for the Texas State Guard, but that was to be expected. What surprised me is that those who have been honorably discharged from the Texas State Guard and United States Public Health Service qualify for veterans' preference for state jobs in Texas. I don't know why the NOAA Corps doesn't qualify. Some state jobs also give preference to current members of the U.S. Military and Texas State Guard.
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I hear some folks in Texas aren't into some of the science that might be found in a typical NOAA facility...

    Though I imagine it was likely just oversight as many folks seem to overlook poor NOAA when it comes to counting the uniformed services.

    I decided to look up New York's. Interestingly, they limit the preference to "Armed Services" rather than "Uniformed Services" and therefore limit the preference to the military branches, their reserve components and the National Guard. No preference for New York Guard or Naval Militia but state employees get release time for training (which I think you also can get if you are a volunteer firefighter).

    Also, I was talking to a recruiter from the State Guard recently (long story) and was told that while training and drills are unpaid if you are called up for service by the governor you get paid. They base pay for your rank off of the DFAS schedule. And apparently those call ups are somewhat frequent.
  9. cofflehack

    cofflehack Member

    This makes me curious. If you are a military reserve, do you have trainings (for combat) while waiting for a call for deployment? My cousin is looking to join the military, but he was told he'd be assigned a military reserve position. He doesn't think it's exciting enough.
  10. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Unless things have much changed...

    You can enlist for a hitch of a few years in a military service or you can join the reserves. Reservists will receive, at minimum, some basic training, probably followed by some months of active duty. Reservists will then have a commitment for some years of a monthly weekend and a yearly two weeks of training.

    Others can add to or correct the above.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It sounds like he should be more careful what he wishes for....
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Are you talking about the U.S. military or state defense forces? I've never been in the military, but I'm pretty sure active duty, reserves, and National Guard all have basic combat training. However, not everyone has a combat job.

    Among the state defense forces, I don't think any of them train for combat anymore. If any of them do, it's California. Not even Texas is on California's level when it comes to training. Some SDFs offer minimal weapons training for shooting competitions, and a couple train their SDF members to be military police. Their most common duties, though, are responding to disasters. Recently, Texas deployed the whole Texas State Guard along with the Texas National Guard to respond to Hurricane Harvey.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2017
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Reservists go through the same basic training and occupational training as active duty service members. The difference is that while AD service members report to a duty station and work full time in the military, reservists have a 1 weekend per month commitment plus 2 weeks per year for training. They can also be called up to active service at any time.

    Interestingly, I don't believe I would call Navy RTC (Basic Training) combat training by any stretch. You learn military drill. You learn firearm safety and handling. You learn basic seamanship and survival as well as shipboard firefighting. There is decidedly less "combat' related training than pretty much any other branch. Certain occupational specialties (ratings, in the Navy) are combat focused and go on to combat training after basic training. The bulk of sailors, myself included, never go through that training.
  14. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    The Marines and the Army train all their incoming people in basic Infantry skills, so (in theory) they can all act in that capacity in an emergency. The Air Force Security Forces used to go from their advanced training in law & order operations/physical security to a special Infantry tactics course run by the Army, I'm not sure if that's still the case.
  15. copper

    copper Active Member

    Do any of the State Defense Forces permit non-residents and/or non U.S. Citizens to join?
  16. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I think that California State Guard allows some non-citizens to enlist, but they need to be legal residents in the process of being naturalized. Details here:

    While pretty much any citizen over 18 who isn't felon can apply, they prefer military veterans and individuals with particular skills. They don't have Army MOS's, but many of them bring civilian expertise of various sorts and are often good at what they do.

    It's a small force, about 1,400 people, and they have been fairly active in the last few years with in-state deployments. When the entire town of Paradise (former population about 20,000) burned last year, creating chaos and many deaths, they were called out to aid evacuations and assist emergency services and firefighters. The year before, they did much the same in the Mendocino and Redding fires. I'm sure that if a big earthquake hits a populated area, they will get called up. They also have some Homeland Security functions. They call it ESAD (Emergency State Active Duty) and while they are unpaid volunteers most of the time, they get the same pay as National Guardsmen of the same rank when called up. They train with the National Guard, but don't get deployed to places like Iraq or Afghanistan. Unlike the Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard Auxiliary, they are technically military and come under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  17. copper

    copper Active Member

    Thanks for the info, I called California SDF and they said you must reside within California to apply. Seems that most SDFs want residence within the State and not a border State. I joined the Civil Air Patrol but have nothing to offer as a Health Service Officer since they are very focused on aviation related efforts.
  18. Jahaza

    Jahaza Member

    If you work in health care, you should look into joining the National Disaster Medical System teams. They're a civilian federal reserve organization that deploys in response to medical emergencies and natural disasters.
  19. copper

    copper Active Member

    Thanks, I'll look into it but at first glance it looks like employment versus volunteerism.

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