Florida's volunteer soldiers trace their tradition 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.
during World war ii
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 military 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 military forces.
In 1941, the Florida Legislature and Governor Spessard Holland created the Florida Defense Force, later renamed the Florida State Guard. Membership was open to all Florida men aged 18 to 60. Most of the soldiers were veterans of World War I.
a modern relaunch
relaunched in 2022
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 providing humanitarian assistance and rapid response during manmade and natural disasters.
Today, the Florida State Guard serves alongside the Florida National Guard and other 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.