California State Guard

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California State Guard
California State Guard
Country United States of America
Allegiance State of California
TypeNational Guard
state defense force
RoleProvide an adequately trained and organized State military reserve force under the exclusive control of the Governor[1][2]
Part ofCalifornia Military Department California National Guard
National Guard Reserve
Motto(s)"Ready to Respond!"
EngagementsMexican–American War[3]

American Civil War[4][5]
Indian Wars[6]
Spanish–American War[7]
World War I (home front)[8]

World War II (home front)[9]
Commander-in-ChiefGovernor of California Gavin Newsom
CommanderMG Jay Coggan[10]
Command Sergeant MajorCSM Daniel M. DeGeorge[11]
Shoulder sleeve insignia
US California State Guard SSI.png

The California State Guard (CSG) (formerly the California State Military Reserve) is one of three components of the California National Guard (CNG). The CSG is a volunteer force that protects the citizens of California from natural and man-made disasters, and supports the state missions and federal readiness of the Army and Air National Guard. CSG service members come from all branches of the military and are citizens with essential skills. Many CSG service members are fully integrated with Army National Guard and Air National Guard units, and are full-time State Active Duty.


The California State Guard is authorized under the provisions of the Title 32, United States Code, Section 109(c)[12] and the California State Military Reserve Act (codified in the California Military and Veterans Code).[13] It has legal standing as part of California's Active Militia.[14] Deployments are mandatory at times and service members are covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) as enacted by California state law (7 MVC 394 et. seq. and 566). Employers are required to comply with these laws when service members are called to Emergency State Active Duty.

The California State Guard is a military agency of the State with each service member subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) per CMVC § 560.[15]

Members and Recruiting[edit]

All citizens over the age of 18 who are not felons and possess a high school diploma or GED may apply for enlistment. Military veterans and those with special skills which materially contribute to the National Guard are of particular interest.

CSG service members are normally considered uncompensated state employees,[16] although when called to Emergency State Active Duty (ESAD), they become compensated at the same rate as their National Guard counterparts.[17] Many CSG service members are full-time State Active Duty (SAD).

Training and Qualifications[edit]

Any MOS, awards, medals, or badges earned in federal service transfer to the CSG. Depending on rank and time since separation, previous rank also transfers. CSG service members are held to the same regulations and training requirements for promotion as their National Guard counterparts.

All new members must attend the Basic Orientation Course (BOC).[18] New members without prior military experience must attend Initial Entry Training (IET), a five-month course where members report to a student chain of command. They are given weekly homework and accountability tasks to strengthen unit cohesion and train how to interact with the chain of command. Each month roles are changed and new members are assigned as squad leaders. Members are required to maintain physical fitness standards, done on their own time.

Other schools are available to service members who want to rise in rank. These include the NCOA (Noncommissioned Officer's Academy) and OCS (Officer Candidate School). The NCOA has three levels: BLC (Basic Leadership Course: E4–E5), ALC (Advanced Leadership Course: E5–E6), and SLC (Senior Leadership Course: E7–above). These courses are broken into four or five residential phases at Camp San Luis Obispo. In every course, work is done on-site and during the interim.

While prior military members retain any Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) previously held, non-prior service members have no MOS qualification. Members with civilian qualifications that meet or exceed standards for a particular MOS are used as Subject Matter Experts (SME) to train their National Guard counterparts. An example of this is the firearms training team, which is responsible for administering weapons training to the California National Guard.


Sgt. Tien Quach and Sgt. Jason Roldan load equipment into an Incident Commander's Command Control and Communications Unit (IC4U).
California State Guard officer candidates wait to be commissioned as officers.
WO1 Joshua Zollo, a firefighter who serves with Alpha Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, Regional Support Command-North, checks under the hood of a Humvee.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Cater, the acting First Sergeant of Alpha Company, Regional Support Command-North, participates in crowd control training.
CSG's MCC One (47 foot patrol boat) received the Command Excellence Award of 2020-21 in Maritime Operations and Training.
A member of the 26th Cavalry Support Regiment marches in the 58th Annual Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade.
Staff Sgt. Juan Ossa, of the Installation Support Command, works the security gate at Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos.

Many CSG service members are fully integrated with Army and Air National Guard units. Members of standalone CSG units stay within the CSG's command structure.

Army Component[edit]

The Army Component is the largest section of the organization. Members serve in aligned or standalone units. Aligned units are directly connected to an Army National Guard unit. For example, the 40th Infantry Division of the California Army National Guard is the CNG parent unit to the CSG's 40th Infantry Division Support Detachment.

Air Component[edit]

The Air Component are service members assigned to Air National Guard units. These service members are, with few exceptions, prior-service Air Force (or Air National Guard). These units are stationed alongside their federal 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).

Maritime Component[edit]

The California Military and Veterans Code also provides for a naval branch.[19] 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.[20] The California Naval Militia was reactivated in 1976 by the Governor of California.[21][22] 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.[23]

On 18 March 2017, the California State Guard established the Maritime Support Command (MARSCOM) under the command of CAPT M. Hanson, with SCPO E. Anderson as the MARSCOM Senior Enlisted Advisor, in a ceremony aboard the decommissioned WWII-era carrier USS Hornet.[24]

Operations Group[edit]

"Ops Group" contains Cyber Command, Search and Rescue, and other units with essential functions.

Emergency Response Command[edit]

The Emergency Response Command is the CSG's rapid response force.

Team Shield protects critical infrastructure, military installations and assist civil authorities during times of emergency. Team Shield also works with Team Blaze on fire missions providing access control and assisting local authorities with evacuation orders. Many of its members are civilian police officers.

Team Blaze responds to wildfires throughout California. Team Blaze works with Cal Fire as a Type 2 Fire Team. These members are deployed to prevent, contain, and fight wildfires. Team members are trained to handle firefighting emergencies through an intensive wildfire training program.

Joint Medical Command[edit]

Col. Susan Pangelinan, deputy State surgeon general, and Lt. Col. Bonnie Davis-Grunseth, JMC commander, review documents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California State Guard established the Joint Medical Command (JMC) on 18 July 2019. The JMC has the responsibility of overseeing CSG medical personnel as they perform their mission of keeping California’s military and citizens healthy. The JMC provides military leadership to doctors, nurses, surgeons, and technicians.

The Joint Medical Command oversees medical units in military and civilian facilities. Some of JMC’s responsibilities include: medical screening of civilian and military personnel, medical accession screening to ensure mission-capable candidates, and providing oversight and analysis of current medical missions and feasibility of future medical missions. Under the guidance of the JMC, military medical personnel have served the citizens of California during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include: preparing ventilators for shipment at the EMSA Warehouse (the first CSG Medical Mission for COVID-19 on 23 Mar 2020), CSG nurses supporting civilian medical facilities as requested by the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), and conducting laboratory analysis at the Sacramento County Public Health Laboratory.

Legal Support Command[edit]

The Legal Support Command (LSC) is a joint command of the CSG composed of Judge Advocates (JAGs, 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 Army Guard, Air Guard, State Guard, and Youth and Community Programs. CSG JAGs also provide critical legal assistance to 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 armories or installation legal offices throughout the state.

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 enlists applicants with experience in military law, personnel law, environmental 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 military populations. Prior military experience is preferred, but not required.


Unit Training Assemblies (UTA's, also referred to as "drills") are one weekend each month. Some units require longer drills depending on their mission and aligned units.


CSG service members are authorized the same uniforms as their federal counterparts (Army, Air Force, Navy) with state insignia. Awards from prior military service may be worn. The CSG has its own awards and members can earn CNG awards as well. All CSG service members must purchase their uniforms. A yearly $125 uniform allowance is authorized for all service members who maintain 100% drill attendance in a twelve-month period.

Recent Emergency Activations[edit]

2020-2021: CSG service members have been deployed for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additional activations occurred for civil unrest, humanitarian aid, and wildfire missions. CSG service members are routinely deployed for California's wildfire seasons.

2019: CSG service members were activated to assist with evacuations and rescue operations during high water levels at the Russian River in Guerneville. CSG service members were instrumental in emergency management operations after the Ridgecrest earthquake in July 2019.

2018: CSG service members were activated to assist with evacuations during the Camp Fire in Butte County in 2018.

2017: CSG service members were activated to assist during winter storms resulting in mudslides and flooding, and the Mendocino Complex Fire and the Carr Fire in 2017.

Notable Fire Responses (2000-2010)[edit]

A large-scale operation of the CSG was during Operation Fall Blaze in October/November 2007, in which over 100 CSG service members deployed with their National Guard counterparts to help fight wildfires.

The CSG had a vital role in the 2008 Operation Lightning Strike, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger activated over 2,000 troops to help overwhelmed firefighters.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-05-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "California Military History: California and the Civil War". February 7, 2013.
  5. ^ "California's Confederate Militia: The Los Angeles Mounted Rifles". January 18, 2013.
  6. ^ "California Military History: The Indian Wars and California". August 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "California Military History: California and Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection". January 2, 2013.
  8. ^ "California Military History: California and World War I". January 2, 2013.
  9. ^ "California Military History: California and World War II". August 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "California State Guard Commanding General". Cal Guard - California Military Department. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  11. ^ "California State Guard Command Sergeant Major". Cal Guard - California Military Department. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  12. ^ "32 U.S. Code § 109 - Maintenance of other troops". LII / Legal Information Institute.
  13. ^ "California Code, Military and Veterans Code - MVC § 550". Findlaw.
  14. ^ "California Military $ Veterans Code section 120". Archived from the original on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "California Government Code section 810.2". Archived from the original on 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
  17. ^ "California Military and Veterans Code section 552-553". Archived from the original on 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "California Code, Military and Veterans Code - MVC § 280". Findlaw.
  20. ^ Naval Battalion of the California National Guard Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ California Military Museum, California Naval Militia
  22. ^ Mark J. Denger. "History of California State Naval Forces". Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  23. ^ "The California Naval Militia in World War I: The Six Percent Riddle".
  24. ^ Powers, K.J. (May 2017). "California State Military Reserve Establishes Maritime Component" (PDF). State Guard Association of the United States. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2009-02-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CNG Operation Lightning Strike Begins

External links[edit]