Florida Army National Guard
The Army is the oldest and largest branch of the Florida National Guard, with 9,951 assigned as of 31 January 2001. The Florida Army National Guard maintains 72 armories, and is present in 63 communities.
The first muster of militia troops in the continental United States took place on September 16, 1565 in the newly established Spanish presidio town of Saint Augustine, Florida. The militia served under the flag of Spain for 236 years, Great Britain for 20 years, and the Confederate States of America for 5 years. Florida's Army has defended the peninsula and nation against the French, Indians, English and a host of others who have attacked the state. In more recent times, Florida's Army has served in the war with Spain, on the Mexican border, in two World Wars, and the Persian Gulf War. Individual guardsmen have also fought in the Philippines, the Korean Conflict and in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
Under the federal mission, the Adjutant General has responsibility to plan for the mobilization and deployment of federalized National Guard units assigned to the state.to take federal funds and resources: administer, train, equip and discipline Florida units so they can report trained and ready to a CINC anywhere in the world
As part of the Total U. S. Army and Air Force, Florida soldiers and airmen spend a large part of their time (almost 99%) training to respond to the needs of the President and National Command Authority. The Army Guard has infantry, artillery, air defense artillery, signal units, special forces, aviation assets and support units.
The Florida National Guard is provided for by Section 2, Article X of the Florida State Constitution. As Commander-in-Chief of the Florida National Guard, the Governor looks to the Adjutant General to provide military organizations trained and equipped to function when necessary in the protection of life and property, and in the preservation of peace, order and the public safety.
The Department of Military Affairs is a state agency whose primary mission is to prepare for state and federal activation of the Florida National Guard. The department's head is the adjutant general. The department is staffed with both state and federal employees, many of whom serve in the Florida National Guard as a condition of their employment.
The Department of Military Affairs is located in St. Augustine, Florida. Camp Blanding, the department-managed 73,000-acre training site, is located approximately 45 miles west of St. Augustine in Clay County. Florida National Guard units are located throughout the state.
Florida National Guard participation in fire-fighting began on 25 May 1998 when members of EMS 13 reported to the State EOC and 3 UH-60 helicopters began dropping water from "Bambi Buckets". At the height of the Operation there were more than 1,500 Army and Air Guardsmen on State Active Duty. All of the Army and Air Guard's utility aircraft, as well as engineering and water pumping vehicles were committed. By the time the last soldiers and airmen came off of active duty in July, more than 1,800 different Guardsman had logged 21,332 man-days of service.
The Drug Interdiction program provides military support to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies statewide in the form of skilled personnel, unique equipment, and diverse types of military training. More than 170 Guardsmen work full-time supporting federal, state, and local LEAs to include: US Customs at all major ports of entry; Florida HIDTAs and the HIDTA Assistance Center; DEA, FBI, FAA, USPS, and FDLE. Local LEAs statewide with specialized training, ground and aerial surveillance and photorecon support. During calendar year 1999, FLNG assisted seizing approximately $6.6 million in currency, 640 lbs of cocaine, and 3,428 lbs of marijuana. Guard's Drug Demand Reduction Program continued to impact the youth of Florida and added value to Florida communities. During the 1998-99 school year, members made 196 presentations in 142 high schools, reaching 22,249 students. Eleven states have now adopted Florida's program. Over the summer, approximately 1,700 students from 95 high schools participated in a two-week leadership and confidence program conducted at Camp Blanding Training Site.
During FY99 the Florida Army National Guard performed its federal and state missions while focusing on people, readiness and dedicated service. The FLARNG was called out four times to assist local law enforcement and emergency management agencies with wildfires and hurricanes that threatened local citizens. FLARNG personnel also contributed to ongoing military operations overseas. The 125th Fighter Wing pulled a rotation as part of Operation Northern Watch over Iraq. Company E, 11th Aviation provided air traffic controllers in the Gulf as part of a multi-state National Guard task force. Men and women from the Florida Guard also participated in Operation New Horizons, bringing medical assistance to the people of Nicaragua.
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