Florida's volunteer service traces back to1565, the year the Spanish founders of St. Augustine mustered a first company of citizen soldiers. Since then, Floridians have protected their local communities, a heritage of more than 450 years.
Before the United States entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called up National Guard units for federal service, including Florida's National Guard. Left without their National Guard units, states needed defense forces to fulfill the National Guard’s stateside obligation to protect the homeland. President FDR signed the State Guard Act in October of 1940, allowing states to create their own state defense forces.
In 1941, the Florida Legislature and Governor Spessard Holland created the Florida Defense Force, later renamed the Florida State Guard.
a modern relaunch
Almost eight decades later, on June 14, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the reactivation of the Florida State Guard as a state-supported volunteer force with statewide rapid response land-based, maritime, and aviation capabilities..
Today, the Florida State Guard serves alongside disaster response agencies under the direction of the Governor of Florida. Currently, 23 states like California, Texas, Connecticut and more—as well as the territory of Puerto Rico—actively maintain state guards.