Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Washington State Guard

The State of Washington has a small defense force headquartered at Camp Murray, near Tacoma. The State Guard appears to be primarily a training cadre with some duties associated with natural disasters and crowd control. The maximum age to join is 59. All members are volunteers and are unpaid unless called to active duty by the Governor.

Official website:

Mission Statement

The mission of the Washington State Guard is to: Provide units organized, equipped and trained in the protection of life or property and the preservation of peace, order and public safety under competent orders of State authorities.

The Washington State Guard is always ready to: Provide trained personnel to support civil government authority; Provide for the protection and preservation of life or property during natural or manmade disasters or civil emergencies; Rapidly and effectively respond to search, rescue, or recovery operations; Effectively execute State Homeland Defense missions; and Participate as active members and contributing citizens of our local communities.


COL Terrance LaRue

From a Wikipedia article:
"The Washington State Guard (WSG) is an unpaid State Defense Force for the U.S. state of Washington. It is the third element of the military forces in the Washington Military Department: the Washington Army National Guard, the Washington Air National Guard and State Guard. While the Army and Air Guard, forming part of the Washington National Guard, can be mobilized to federal service, the WSG is only utilized within Washington and is never deployed out of state."

Current Composition

The Washington State Guard consists of two brigades. The First Infantry Brigade is located at the Seattle Armory and maintains two battalions in Olympia and Everett. The Second Infantry Brigade is located in Spokane. The WSG HQ is located at Camp Murray in Tacoma, Washington. State Guard soldiers drill in a non-pay status one day a month and two days during the summer. However, WSG soldiers can and have been called up to paid State Active Duty to support the Washington Military Department in a variety of missions within the state. They have been deployed to the State Emergency Operation Center and many County Emergency Operation Centers to coordinate National Guard resource request to state/federally declared disasters. State Guard members may resign their enlistment or commission at any time, unless mobilized or in paid State Active Duty status. Most WSG soldiers have served in the military, but some come straight from civilian life.

Despite the terms (e.g. "brigade" and "battalion") used for the units comprising the State Guard, actual personnel strength is cadre only, meaning that while a skeleton organization exists, for real-world deployment the organization would have to be filled by the "calling out" of the unorganized militia of the state by the Governor.

State Laws Governing the Washington State Guard

State Constitution

Article X of the State Constitution establishes the Militia of the State, who is liable for service, and empowers the Legislature to provide for its regulation. In addition, Article III, Section 8 establishes the Governor of the State as the Commander in Chief of the military of the State[2].

Revised Code of Washington (RCW)

Title 38 of the RCW, entitled "Militia And Military Affairs", contains the laws enacted by the state legislature in response to the requirements of the State Constitution in regulating Washington's military affairs. Chapter 13 of the title contains the laws specifically applicable to the Washington State Guard[3].

Generally speaking, the state does not provide arms, uniforms or equipment for the Washington State Guard. Guard members are expected to obtain suitable uniforms from appropriate sources at their own expense, and when training must normally make provision of equipment and arms from their own property. As approved by the state Adjutant General, however, the Guard may participate in training opportunities provided by the federal government, and may also take advantage of federally-provided arms and equipment at state expense.