California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
California Home Guard
Home Guard Regulation
Home Guard Uniform
Units of the California Home Guard

"California State Defense Guard" authorized by Legislature in 1917. Although officially known as the California State Defense Guard in the legislation, it was universally know as the the California Home Guard or the California Military Reserve. The federal Home Guard Act of 1917 authorized states to use weapons. The California Legislature authorized none to be used as armed support, however it is noted that 5,000 were listed as unauthorized armed support in 1917. California had 100 companies listed as existing in the annual report to the Secretary of War for 1918-1919. A February 5, 1918 Military Bureau report lists California as needing 3,600 arms . The offical War Department records state, "The Governor and Adjutant General headed a State Defense Guard of men 30-50 years of age. Originally ten companies were authorized. Later there were about 100. They had duties of a constabulary and such other duties as the governor might direct, but could not be used in industrial disputes. They were self-armed or armed by local authorities". An article in the San Francisco Chronicle (14 March 1920) stated the Governor ordered its discontinuance, and discharge papers were given.

Home Guard Regulations

Under the Act of Congress approved June 3, 1916 (National Defense Act), which provides that armed bodies other than those specified by the War Department may be organized, or permitted to organize, by the States during the period this country is at war, and to further provide for carrying out Chapter 170 of the Penal Code, and Chapter 159 of the Statutes of 1911, State of California, the following rules and regulations will be observed:
Home Guard

1. Whenever a body of men desires to form a Home Guard organization, such body will apply to The Adjutant General of the State for blank muster rolls, and all men desiring membership in the organization will subscribe to the oath printed on said muster rolls. Completed muster rolls will be forwarded to The Adjutant General, through the county defense council of the particular county for approval or disapproval. Upon such muster rolls being approved, a license to drill and parade with arms will be issued by the Governor. In all cases the termination of the war will automatically cancel all licenses.

Eligibility for Membership

2. To be eligible for enrollment in a Home Guard organization, a man must be a citizen of the United States, or have declared his intention of becoming a citizen by taking out his first papers. Candidates for enrollment must be between the ages of eighteen and sixty years.


3. All Home Guards must be formed into companies of not less than forty, nor more than seventy-five men and three officers: provided, that companies may, in the discretion of The Adjutant General, be organized into battalions or regiments with the necessary headquarters personnel, which personnel shall be in addition to the officers and men comprising companies.

4. Each company shall have one first sergeant and such number of sergeants, not to exceed five, as may be required, such number of corporals as may be required, and not to exceed one for each seven privates. Companies will be designated as "First Company," "Second Company," etc., in accordance with the date of the receipt of the muster rolls in the office of The Adjutant General.

Selection of Officers

5. Each company shall have one captain, one first lieutenant and one second lieutenant. These officers shall be elected by the members of the company at a regular or specially called meeting of the organization. Two-thirds of the members shall constitute a quorum and a majority shall elect. The return of the election, with the name, rank and age of each officer-elect shall be forwarded to the County -Council of Defense, which will approve or disapprove the same, and forward the return to the office of The Adjutant General.

6. The officers-elect will attach to such return of election at least two letters from responsible citizens of their community, certifying to the moral character of the officers. Such officers as may be accepted will be issued a certificate by The Adjutant General, designating them as officers of the Home Guard.

7. The officers shall hold office until the license of the company to which they belong is canceled, provided that they may be removed by the Governor for such causes or breaches of discipline for which officers of the National Guard may be removed, or by a two-thirds vote of the company, or by resignation.

8. Headquarters officers will be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of The Adjutant General, and will hold their respective offices at the pleasure of the Governor.

9. All company non-commissioned officers will be appointed by the company commander, either by selection or examination.


10. Each organization shall hold one drill each week of one and one-half hours' duration. In addition thereto, school for officers and non-commissioned officers will be held once each week. Any organization failing to hold drills for three consecutive weeks shall have its license canceled.

11. Any member of a Home Guard company who fails to report for three consecutive drills, without good and sufficient excuse, will be dropped from the rolls of the organization. Drills will be in accordance with the United States Army Infantry Drill Regulations.

Kind of Organizations

12. Home Guard organizations will be given licenses to drill and parade with arms as infantry companies only, providing that the Governor may at his discretion permit the organization of such bodies of mounted scouts as he may deem necessary.
Uniforms and Equipment

13. Uniforms or equipment will not be furnished by the State. It is unlawful to use any part of the uniform now used by the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard or the Naval Militia.

14. Organizations desiring to uniform themselves should, when practicable, select a uniform of the following kind: gray trousers, gray sweater or coat and campaign hat.

Liability for Service

15. Whenever the Governor shall deem it necessary for the public safety, he may call into active service of the State such organizations of the Home Guard as he may deem

16. The purposes, briefly defined, for which these organizations may be called into the service of the State, are: to repel invasion, to suppress insurrection, or riot, and to prevent destruction of life or property.

17. It is not contemplated that any organization will ever be called into service for an indefinite period of time, nor that an organization will be sent away from its home station, except in case of extreme emergency.


18. The Governor may cancel any and all licenses when in his judgment he deems such action to be for the public good.

By order of the Governor:

The Adjutant General.

Home Guard Uniform
(Extracted from the December 22, 1917 issue of the California Home Guard News)
Here's the full and official description of the uniform for members of the California Home Guard, and is the same as that adopted by the Home Guard Companies in
the East:
Dark GRAY Montana Peak Wool Hat with white and green cord.
Service Coat of Dark Gray cotton material, same pattern as that for enlisted men in the regular service, with bronze metal State buttons, bronze collar ornaments. Special design of chevrons for Non-Commissioned Officers.
Service Breeches of same material as the coat, cut same as the regular service breeches, with lace fastening at the bottom.
Canvas Puttee Leggings of Dark Gray, same pattern as those of the regular service. On the front of the HAT, the number of the company in bronze metal.
All officers wear the "black and gold" hat cord-no number on the front of the hat.

Collar ornaments are of bronze metal, with the addition of the bronze metal cross rifles.

Shoulder ornaments are as follows: Colonel, three silver metal diamonds on each shoulder. Lieutenant Colonel, two silver metal diamonds on each shoulder. Major gilt metal diamond on each shoulder. Captain, three silver or gilt metal discs; 1st Lieutenant, two discs, and 2d Lieutenant, one metal disc. All officers wear the regulation U. S. Army leather puttee. The regulation U. S. Army saber and Garrison Web belt are also worn. Leather saber knot. The original colored plate of this uniform as adopted is at the Headquarters of the First Regiment.
Officer Ranks



Second Lieutenant

 First Lieutenant






Lieutenant Colonel

Colonel F.F. Cannon, Commander, 1st Regiment, California Home Guard
Colonel Cannon was a retired National Guard officer who was the Assistant Adjutant General of California
Note the use of Home Guard rank insignia. The letters "CHG" are worn on the collar in lieu of the Federal "U.S." or the National Guard "CAL"

Units of the California Home Guard
First Regiment, California Home Guard, San Francisco
Contra Costa County Home Guard Regiment, Martinez
Cabrillo Rifles Battalion, San Diego
Known Separate Home Guard Companies

 Company Number



 Suisun  See Suisun Home Guard

 Woodland  See Woodland Home Guard

 Santa Rosa  See Santa Rosa Home Guard

 Alturas  See Alturas Home Guard

 Eagle Rock  See Eagle Rock Home Guard

 Ceres  See Ceres Home Guard

 Sacramento  See Sacramento Home Guard

 Sacramento  See Sacramento Home Guard

 Riverside  See Riverside Home Guard

 Oakland  See Oakland Home Guard

 Oakland  See Oakland Home Guard

 Oakland  See Oakland Home Guard

 Oakland  See Oakland Home Guard

 Nevada City  No available yet data.

 Sacramento  See Sacramento Home Guard

 Westwood  See Westwood Home Guard

 Healdsburg  See Healdsburg Home Guard

 Oak Park (Sacramento)  See Sacramento Home Guard

 Lompoc  See Lompoc Home Guard

 Redwood City  See Redwood City Home Guard

 Santa Maria  See Santa Maria Home Guard

 Modesto  See Modesto Home Guard

 Pasadena  Possibly an African-American company. See the Pasadena Home Guard

 Madera  See Madera Home Guard

 Pasadena  See Pasadena Home Guard

 Coalinga  See Coalinga Home Guard

 Grass Valley  See Grass Valley Home Guard

 Turlock  See Turlock Home Guard

 Daly City  See Daly City Home Guard

 Stockton  No data yet available

 Hollywood  Also known as the Lasky Home Guard. Commanded famed director Cecil B. DeMille

 Long Beach  See Long Beach Home Guard

 Fresno  See Fresno Home Guard

San Francisco See San Francisco Home Guard

 Sunnyvale  See Sunnyvale Home Guard

 San Luis Obispo  See San Luis Obispo Home Guard

 Oxnard  See Oxnard Home Guard

 San Francisco  See San Francisco Home Guard

 San Francisco  See San Francisco Home Guard

 San Francisco  See San Francisco Home Guard

 San Francisco  See San Francisco Home Guard

 San Francisco  See San Francisco Home Guard

Porterville No data yet available

Orange  See Orange Home Guard

 Santa Clara  See Santa Clara Home Guard

 Fullerton  See Fullerton Home Guard
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Updated 23 June 2017