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  • Writer's pictureFlorida State Guard

Florida State Guard Demonstrates Increased Statewide Capability to Serve Floridians This Coming Hurricane Season


June 30, 2024 


Sierra Dean, External Affairs Director  

STARKE, Fla.— This week, the Florida State Guard (FSG) completed their first annual training since Governor DeSantis’ reactivation of the agency in June 2022. During the 14-day mission rehearsal exercise, Soldiers underwent a series of rigorous simulations to test their emergency response proficiencies in the aftermath of a catastrophic hurricane with multi-county impacts. 


After officially launching four operational units, the FSG exercised new ground, maritime, and aviation capabilities during the activation of over 300 personnel. 


"Compared to last year, we have demonstrated significant growth in capability and capacity.  In less than eight months we recruited and graduated over 200 new Soldiers, conducted three advanced training periods, expanded our partnerships with state and local agencies, developed four cross-functional units, and procured high demand assets to best support current and future mission sets,” said FSG Executive Director Mark Thieme. “To meet the needs of Floridians, we will continue to accelerate training and achieve major milestones.  This annual capstone exercise tested our ability to sustain concurrent operations across multiple counties, synchronize with external partners, and confirmed our preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season." 


The Crisis Response Battalion (CRB), the FSG's largest unit, focused on land-based operations.  During the training, Soldiers operated Points of Distribution (POD) sites, coordinated logistics for critical supplies, and provided humanitarian aid in collaboration with the Aviation Response Squadron (ARS) and the Maritime Response Squadron (MRS). 


The ARS reinforced response efforts through aerial damage assessments, search and rescue operations, and extended emergency response capabilities through the deployment of mobile incident command vehicles and unmanned aerial systems. 


In a display of interagency coordination, the MRS partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC). Members exercised inland and near-shore nautical skills to include basic vessel operations, search and rescue, and waterway reconnaissance. 


“As we enter what is predicted to be a busy hurricane season, FWC is committed to working collaboratively with our partner agencies to provide solution-oriented support. Training for natural disasters and being prepared for deployment at a moment's notice is paramount. We're honored to partner with agencies like the Florida State Guard to ensure that Floridians receive the swiftest and timeliest response possible," said FWC Executive Director Roger Young. 


The Special Missions Unit (SMU) is conducting a sequence of water survival courses, aviation support training and public safety exercises to increase readiness in search and rescue capabilities and medical evacuation procedures. This includes a series of training events in July and August to ensure the SMU maintains proficiency and preparedness in its mission essential tasks during peak hurricane season.   


The FSG and its partners will continue to strengthen statewide emergency response to best serve Florida families this coming hurricane season. 


The FSG is currently accepting applications for its upcoming August Initial Entry Training cycle. All eligible Floridians with an interest in serving are encouraged to apply at:  Individuals with credentials and experience in aviation and maritime operations, information technology, data analysis, and front-line medical care are highly desired.     



With a heritage dating back to WWII, the Florida State Guard was reactivated in 2022 as a state-supported volunteer force to provide rapid emergency response. Since the modern relaunch, the Florida State Guard’s continued growth in capability and personnel strengthens Florida’s emergency response in aviation, maritime, and land-based operations. The Florida State Guard is committed to protecting the life and property of Florida from all threats to public safety. For more information, visit . Connect with the Florida State Guard on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X. 





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