California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
A Condensed History of California's State Defense Forces
Contemporary Roots of America's State Defense Forces
By SSgt. D. Carl Ehlig, California State Military Reserve

With Europe and Asia caught in the ever-tightening grip of fear with German and Japanese military expansionism, it became obvious to the United States Congress that Federal forces needed to be strengthened and prepared for possible involvement in this growing world conflict. Furthermore they realized that most, if not all, of the different states and territories’ National Guard units were likely to be mobilized, federalized and deployed abroad, thus leaving the individual States of the Union standing undefended. To address this issue and belay the mounting concerns from many States, United States’ Congress amended the National Defense Act on October 21st of 1940 to authorize and allow States to organize local ad interim defense units while in preparation for their National Guard units to be put into federal service. Called by some the Act of 1940, it specifically permitted the States to raise, train and maintain their own militias in any period that National Guard units faced being federalized and deployed outside the state. This was consistent with an act passed by the Congress when World War I unfolded over twenty years earlier. Thus, before the United States entered the Second Great War, the majority of states had begun organizing their own standing military forces.

By the time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the state defense forces were organized in 34 States. Collectively, these State Guard forces managed a total of nearly 90,000 citizen-soldiers. Each state was responsible for having their troops trained, equipped and well-maintained. Only ten days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. War Department issued a directive to states authorizing these State Defense Forces to wear the distinctive round 2.5" shoulder patch indicating their state and unit designation. By the start of 1942, units of the State Guards had been deployed to protect and defend important installations and coastlines. Nearly all of the large airports were secured by State Guard soldiers, and many key factories and docks had protection from these units as well.

Central differences between the Federal and the State Guard forces included restrictions on a states’ recruiting and drafting abilities. Participation could only be voluntary, members could not be federalized, and none could operate outside the boundaries of their state. In the early stages these restrictions also included the quantity of arms that could be allocated to these forces. Additionally, they could not receive Federal pay; only their own state could finance them. Due to Federal regulations and in spite of the states’ charters and codes stating that their soldiers could receive pay according to the schedules equivalent to those applied by Federal forces, many of these units went unpaid for their services. Yet they were appreciated and viewed as a vital component of the national and civil defense.

As the American role in the war rapidly deepened, National Guard units were rapidly mobilized, federalized and deployed overseas. It was the local State Guard units that immediately backfilled the deployed units, securing their facilities, armories, and assets. Though they were not fighting on the frontlines abroad, they were indeed on the frontlines in defending the
homeland. By performing the missions in their states, they effectively ensured that stateside Federal forces could focus on logistical missions and training for overseas deployment. There were also thousands of young Guardsmen who received their first military indoctrination in the State Defense Forces and later went on to enlist in branches of the Federal forces when they came of legal age. As a result of their previous training they were much better prepared and ready for deployment, and most of all, better prepared to fight distant enemies.

California's Early Militia History, 1836 - 1846

There is a long and rich history of organized militias in California, reaching back even to the days before it joined the Union in September of 1850. The first appearance of an organized volunteer militia was in 1846 when the new California Republic declared its intention to leave Mexico. Members of a U.S. Army survey group headed by Major John C. Fremont joined with those calling for secession from Mexico. And though the secessionists were primarily made up of immigrants from the United States, there were also many Mexican nationals calling for independence. In fact there had been numerous revolts in Alta California against Mexico in the years leading up this new call for an independent California Republic.

In 1836, inspired by the victory of those rebelling in the Mexican State of Tejas months earlier, Californios led by a legislator, Juan Bautista Alvarado, and a distiller, Isaac Graham, created a flag and rebelled against Mexico’s rule. The flag was white with a large red star on it. This became known as the famous California Lone Star flag. And for a short time this Lone Star flag flew proudly over the captured city of Monterey, then capital of Alta California, while the rebels called for independence from Mexico. And then in 1845, a year short of the Bear Flag Revolt, the despised military governor Manuel Micheltorena led a small army against a new rebellion, as the Mexican government sought to crush all challenges to its authority. At the Battle of Providencia (fought in the area of Burbank near where the Providence Saint Joseph Hospital is today) Micheltorena met his defeat at the hands of the rebels again led by Juan Bautista Alvarado. Afterwards, to appease the rebels, the more popular native-born Pio de Jesus Pico was placed into the governorship for the second time, having served years earlier.

Revolution came again just a week before the Summer of 1846 officially began. This time there were two rebellious factions; settlers who had come from the United States and were unhappy with the military despotism of Mexican rule, and several large haciendas unhappy with their treatment by the Mexican government. To add to this resentment, the central government and local authorities had become unpopular with Californios due to the government’s treatment and confiscation in recent years of property and facilities that belonged to the Spanish Missions. These acts of taking the missions and selling off mission lands greatly strengthened the general resentment of the government. Together, the rebelling Vaqueros and American settlers rallied for the cause to emancipate themselves from Mexican rule, even at the cost of taking up arms.

So began the Bear Flag Revolt, where settlers and Californios captured Mexico's military garrison in Sonoma, Alta California. Their flag honored the red lone star revolt of 1836 and featured a powerful and proud grizzly bear with the words “California Republic” beneath it and a red strip across the bottom. These Californians declared their independence from Mexico and proclaimed their republic on the 14th of June 1846. At the time, not a one of them were even aware that the United States and Mexico had already gone to war seven weeks earlier. After declaring the California Republic's independence, the rebels formed the California Volunteer Militia. To assist the rebels, U.S. Army Major John Fremont brought his team of soldiers, hunters, and guides down to Sonoma from Oregon. Within weeks the U.S. Navy Pacific Squadron arrived at Monterey. With its arrival the militia gained official U.S. recognition and authorization from Commodore Robert Stockton. This officially made the rebels American soldiers and combatants in the Mexican-American War. Upon receiving Stockton's authorization, this militia was officially renamed the 'California Battalion,' with Fremont promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed as the Battalion commander.

As commander, Fremont required each volunteer to sign a compact and code of conduct to be honored for the duration of their service in the battalion. And in the same tradition as early American militias; these volunteers were to elect their officers from the ranks. Fremont took his battalion of just under 200 volunteers south to capture Los Angeles and San Diego. And while the Battalion was moving south, Commodore Stockton deployed American occupational troops and established a military occupational government.

Lone Star and Bear Flag Republic, 1847 – 1849

By the time a cease fighting armistice in Alta California was signed, called the Treaty of Cahuenga, informal as it was, on January of 1847, the ranks of the California Battalion consisted of eight companies with a total force of over 400 soldiers. The following June, after receiving their service pay, all of its soldiers were mustered out and returned home. California, now ceded from Mexico as a prize of the war, was a republic in name only. It had no civilian government and no adopted set of laws, in these early years it was . Along with this fact, in January of 1848 gold had been discovered at John Sutter’s Mill on the south fork of the American River in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Miners and prospectors began pouring into California as early as 1849. In light of California’s new found national fame the occupational government called for a Constitutional Convention in Monterey. Among the delegates were John C. Fremont and John Sutter. By the close of 1849, California had its first civilian governor, Peter Burnett, and Constitution, which was bi-lingual.

The new constitution bestowed liberties and justice previously withheld under the old rulers upon all its citizens. This bi-lingual constitution in Article V established the Governor as the "commander-in-chief of the militia, the army and navy" of the State. Article VIII explicitly authorized the creation of California's militia with the understanding that the State was poised to join the United States. This article states:

Sec. 1 The Legislature shall provide by law for organizing and disciplining the militia, in such manner as they shall deem expedient, not incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Sec. 2 Officers of the militia shall be elected, or appointed, in such a manner as the Legislature shall from time to time direct, and shall be commissioned by the governor.

Sec. 3 The governor shall have power to call forth the militia, to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

Lone Star and Bear Flag State, 1850 - 1866

In September of 1850 California was admitted into the United States of America becoming its 31st State. Between 1850 and 1866 there were over one hundred organized militias authorized by the California governor and legislature, with Theron Perlee serving as the first Adjutant General (April 1850). These militias were generally referred to as elements of the California Militia. Most of these were organized for specific missions and tasks, such as protecting miners and civilians during the Gold Rush from a wide array of gangs of thieves and robbers. These many dozens of militia included the California Rangers, First California Guard, Stockton Blues, Marion Rifles, California Rifles, and the Mariposa Battalion to name but a few.

In the case of the Mariposa Battalion, a force of three companies consisting of 200 soldiers, the battalion was authorized by Governor McDougal, California’s second governor, to quell the hostilities in Mariposa County between miners and ranchers on one side and numerous tribes, including the Chow-chilla peoples on the other. This event became known as California's Mariposa Indian War (1850-1852). Currently documented by the California State Military Museum are at least seven Indian Wars occurring in California between 1850 and 1873.

The history of the Bear Flag State’s militias is rich with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the amazing. Some of its faces include the short service of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman who commanded the 2nd Division of the California Militia before regional politics convinced him to divorce himself from California, after which he went East and on to become the famous Union Army commander during the War Between the States.

In California Men and Events: time 1769-1890 (© 1915) George Tinkham, speaking directly about the California’s militias at this time, points out that "When the war broke out there was a general commotion among the state militia. Many of the members of the various companies were friendly to the South, while others stood firmly for the Union. The Marysville Rifles took the oath of allegiance to the government. They expelled their captain, who refused to take the oath. The National Guard, San Francisco, offered their services to General Sumner for three months' time to guard the forts. The Stockton Blues disbanded. Immediately the Union members organized a new company, the Union Guard. The ranks were soon filled, and they tendered their services to the government, to serve where called."

With the start of hostilities between Southern States and the Federal government, nearly all of the California's militias had become galvanized, most in favor of the union, though a few were supportive of the arguments expressed by the South. And only one, the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, decided as a unit to actually join the Confederacy. In so doing they created quite a stir, since they took their State issued rifles, muskets, sabers, and pistols with them. And as this unit rode their mounts East it is reported that two U.S. Army deserters joined them in crossing the great American desert in order to join the Southern army; they were Albert S. Johnson and Lewis A. Armistead, both of whom later served as generals in the Confederate Army.

As the war began, many of the local guard militias mustered out of their units to come under the California Militia and thereby join Federal forces. In some cases northeastern States advertised in California newspapers for volunteers with shooting and horse skills to join the ranks of their armies in the fight against the rebelling States. California is credited with providing over 15,700 volunteers to the Union. Among the California troops anti-slavery sentiment ran high as a motivation for service. Today, there are many older cities and communities spread across California that have memorial statues dedicated to their soldiers that fought for the Union.

It was not until after the conclusion of the War to Save the Union that the California legislature chose to create a citizen-soldier army that could be federalized in emergencies to serve the nation. These laws enacted in 1866 as Chapter DXLI Statutes, named this new State Militia the "National Guard of California," prior to which there was no mechanism for mustering forces that could legally leave the State. Thus before 1866 the history of the volunteer militias in California, as far as the California National Guard and the California State Military Reserve, were completely intertwined.

Stepping Upon the World Stage, 1867 - 1916

As the nineteenth century came to a close, California’s citizen-soldiers were thrust onto the world stage to fight in the Spanish-American War. Their units, along with many from other States, were mustered into the U.S. Army and deploy overseas. The California soldiers received their pre-deployment training at Camp Merriam, near San Luis Obispo. Earlier that same decade, an 1891 act by the legislature authorized the creation of California’s naval militia which also served in America’s first overseas war. Officially named the Navel Militia of California, for the Spanish-American War, their officers and sailor’s were mustered directly into the United States Navy. Due to the contributions of California’s citizen-soldiers and citizen-sailor, their readiness to answer the call to duty not only for their own State, but for the country wherever they were needed. They quickly gained recognition for their courage and professionalism.

The Great Shake-down, 1906

An important chapter in the history California’s militias’ can be found in the days that followed the most tragic natural disaster to have struck a region of the continental United States in the 20th century. It was the biggest quake that had yet been recorded in North America. Estimated to be 8.3 on the Richter scale, it hit the northern coast of California like and out of control freight train and was felt from Coos Bay, Oregon, to Los Angeles. And besides devastating San Francisco, it wrecked buildings and property in San Jose, San Rafael, San Mateo, Oakland, Berkeley, Petaluma, Palo Alto, Vallejo, and Eureka, with deaths that accompanied all this destruction. And yet it was in this disaster that the Naval Militia of California (NMC) and units of the National Guard of California proved their value and ability in the field and on the waves, serving their communities during the dark days that followed April 18th of 1906.

On April 19th, the day after the first great shaking began, Captain G.W. Bauer, commander of the NMC, issued active duty orders to his First, Second, Third, Fourth and Sixth Divisions. Orders were also issued for detachments of engineers from the USS Marion, stationed in Los Angeles, and the USS Pinta, then anchored in the San Francisco Bay. The First and Second Divisions were stationed locally, the Forth was nearby, Santa Cruz, the Third in San Diego and the Sixth stationed at Santa Barbara. By the next day, the First, Second, Forth Divisions and USS Pinta’s detachment were reporting for duty at the Armory in the Jefferson Square Building in devastated San Francisco. The remainder of the called up units arrived in San Francisco and were on duty in less than a week. Each division was given specific tasks that ranged in scope from helping direct the mass evacuation of citizens made homeless to providing street patrols and area security against looters and criminals. Initially many of the militiamen were sent to augment civil authorities and some regular troops and National Guardsman ordered to duty from the nearby bases. Yet rapidly, as the refugee situation was handled, the missions of the militia units turned to stopping the spreading fires and the protection of records and property.

Over most of the next six weeks, units of the NMC and other militiamen were kept active and providing continuous support to the security and relief efforts. By May 31st, almost a month and a half, nearly all the active militia units were standing down and returning to their home stations. For the record, as many as a 1,000 people perished in San Francisco with as many as 100 died in the surrounding towns. Over 200,000 people in the city were made homeless and over 28,000 buildings destroyed. The job of managing the refugee tent cities was massive and the work of the militias, Red Cross, and Army were heroic. The militias of California were recognized as doing an incredible job in the face of these conditions.

The Home Guard, 1917 - 1939

The 20th century was born in strife, with tensions running high in Europe between competing kingdoms and empires. As the second decade got under way, tensions reached their boiling point and conflict exploded early in the second decade. Thus the First World War burst forth to cloud the future. Called the War of 1914, by 1917 Germany was again resuming unrestricted submarine war on any shipping between Europe and the Americas. Early that year these attacks resulted in the sinking of seven U.S. merchant ships. Around the same time, evidence surfaced that pointed to Germany soliciting Mexico to join them and make war on the United States as vengeance for their defeat in the Mexican-American War and loss of much land in subsequent unbalanced treaties. These events pushed the U.S. Congress to declare war upon Germany in April of 1917. Along with this the federal government passed the Home Guard Act of 1917, authorizing State Defense Forces to have and use weapons.

Furthermore, in the months of tension leading up to the declaration of war, the U.S. War Department called up California’s naval militia and its Marine Battalion and integrated them into the U.S. Navy in anticipation of war. Following the formal declaration of war, as National Guard units were preparing for war in Europe, the California legislature authorized the creation of the California State Defense Guard, which popularly was called the California Home Guard. The Bear Flag State's Home Guard started with 10 companies yet by 1918 had swelled to 100 companies. Early in 1918 California made a request to the Federal military for 3,600 arms for its internal forces. The mission of the Home Guard was much the same as that of the CSMR is today, to take over military assets left behind by deployed federal troops or federalized National Guard units, provide a presence for keeping the peace, and to carry out such tasks as directed by the governor, with the exception that it couldn't be used in labor and industrial disputes. This force was mustered out in March of 1920.

To prevent any further confusion and ensure the proper commitment of all National Guardsmen, the U.S. Congress in 1933 made clear the difference between the National Guard and the state defense forces by enacting Title 10 and Title 32. These mandated that each and every National Guardsmen must submit dual enlistment/commission applications so that they are accepted both by the State and Federal forces in order to qualify to be in the National Guard. This made it very clear to the States that they must organize their own state defense forces should they ever have a need for non-federal soldiers.

The Great War had given both the California National Guard and the California Home Guard an opportunity to shine and prove themselves when the country called, and both did so to great acclaim. For the National Guard, the Office of the Adjutant General (OTAG) saw fit to give them their own official State home. This would be the center of their operation and training outside of Sacramento. It was a camp located in the middle of the coastal region of the State equally accessible by its units of the north and south. To meet the needs of the National Guard, additional construction was done at Camp Merriam and completed in 1928. The camp, now the official home of the California National Guard, consisted of over 6,000 acres. Located on California's famous Pacific Coast Highway 1 among the rolling hills between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. From this point on its fields and facilities were host to frequent unit training and field exercises of the National Guard. And it would play a continuous part in the history of units of California's state militia forces. By 1941, following the trend of bases and camps being named for the largest city near them, this base was renamed Camp San Luis Obispo.

Birth of the State Guard, 1940 - 1946

Only eighteen years had passed since the end of the Great War and Europe was again beginning to remilitarize. However, this time across the Pacific, Japan was waging war on its neighbors, going after French Indochina, mainland China, and Korea. For many in the U.S. this was a greater concern than the European arena. In the summer of 1938 Japan had invaded much of the Soviet Union’s border regions. As Japan continued to expand its military operations, the U.S. government responded by restricting the export of massive levels of scrap metal, tools, aircraft, and parts. These were shipments that Japan had become dependent on for building and maintaining its war machine. In 1940 Japan joined the Axis powers, gaining a vast new source of raw materials.

California responded to the growing threat and on the 15th of November 1940 as the U.S. War Department began funding the building a mass mobilization center in the middle of the State. Initially, it was officially named Camp Nacimiento Replacement Training Center, located north of the sleepy farming town of Atascadero on the 101 Highway. By March of 1941 the new mobilization center, designed to house 30,000 troops at any one time, had been renamed Camp Roberts and was in full operation. Its new name honored a California WWI tank corps corporal and Medal of Honor recipient, Harold W. Roberts, who placed his tank in harm’s way in order to save the crew of a nearby disabled tank, losing his life in the process while also saving the life of his gunner.

When Camp Roberts opened it was one of the largest army bases in the country and being named after an enlisted man made it very unique. At the same time of the camp’s opening, while Japan was attacking its neighbors, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to protect America's Pacific interests by moving the United States Pacific Fleet from San Diego, California, to Hawaii's Pearl Harbor and get additional military assets to the American-occupied Philippines. The administration also began federalizing National Guard units around the country.

By the middle of December 1940, California's Military Department was beginning to commit to paper the plans for the authorization of state militia troops. On the 19th of January 1941 California's Governor Culbert Olson, by proclamation, created the California State Guard. This executive order was in response to several California National Guard elements being federalized, including those of the 40th Infantry Division and the Coastal Artillery Regiments. In the Pacific, rather than being dissuaded from attacking U.S. interests, Japan mounted coordinated massive attacks on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and other British and American interests in the Pacific. The next day, the 8th of December 1941, it mounted a full invasion of the Philippines Islands.

With the shock of Japan's highly successful attack on Pearl Harbor near year end that crippled the Pacific Fleet, coupled with the weekly reported successes of Japan throughout the Pacific, Americans were served a daily plate of cold reality as the Philippines fell to the Japanese, followed by Wake Island, then Guam, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and Burma. Californians were certain their shores would be next, and the federal government agreed by declaring the entire West Coast a Military Zone (combat zone). Numerous reports came in with details claiming sightings of Japanese submarines spotted along the coastal area called North County and cited as the likely reason for a recent ship sinking. In the northern Pacific there were attacks on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and in coastal cities such as Los Angeles there were incidents where all power was shut off in order to hide the city in darkness after spotters reported sightings of probable Japanese planes. Early in 1942 mass evacuations were publicly being planned in most of the coastal cities and communities of California. This was the context that Californians awoke to in this war; a pervasive feeling of vulnerability ran through the veins of many citizens. To them and most people in the Golden State building and developing the State Guard seemed most significant.

The State Guard was initially authorized for a troop strength of 10,000 but by the end of December 1941 their actual strength was more than twice that, measuring over 21,000. By early 1942 there were a total of thirteen Infantry Regiments, identified as the 1st through the 13th. Along with these regiments there were two Nautical Corps, a Medical Regiment, and finally a Quartermaster Regiment, as well as seven companies of naval militia consisting of five ship’s companies (sailors) and two companies of Marines. In the early stages several additional units were created, though these existed only for a relatively short time before being mustered out of service, their soldiers rolled into existing units. These temporary units included ten Observation Squadrons, two Ambulance Battalions, Nursing Corps, Sanitation Corps, Engineer Regiment, Evacuation Corps, Sanitation Corps, and some provisional companies. There were at least two documented militia units from Los Angeles and San Francisco manned entirely of soldiers whose ethnicity was Asian, formed to counter growing anti-Asian sentiment that had spiked after the Pearl Harbor surprise attack. On that day, when the massive air attack on Pearl Harbor and it’s resting U.S. Pacific Fleet, elements of the California State Guard's 1st Regiment were ordered to active duty and nearly all of the 9th and 10th were activated within 3 weeks. California was preparing itself for a full Japanese invasion along its coast.

By spring of 1942, Sacramento had organized the State into six regions for command and control purposes. Each of these regions had their own headquarters and staff. These command regions were further divided into districts and sub districts. As one of the adjustments to this structure the State organized a new regiment, the 311th, made up of elements from the then mustering out 3rd and 11th Regiments. This provided the State with a total of a dozen operational regiments and in May of 1943 the six command regions and dozen regiments were reorganized into units supporting ten designated regions covering the entire State.

Throughout the rural portions of the state, local communities were awash in the waves of fear and concern that the war news invoked. They began forming their own Home Guard units without the State's blessing. In most cases these militias grew from efforts of county Civil Defense groups and their Public Safety Committees. The primary task they saw that must be addressed was literally guarding their homes and community. With all the talk and planning for evacuating entire towns, cities and communities in rural regions, residents and property owners were certain that looters and thievery would run rampant. In areas like San Luis Obispo County, the local chapters of the American Legion became involved with organizing, training, and generally providing leadership to the local militias. Some of the militia companies derived their authority and used the title of "Auxiliary Police," getting sworn-in authorization from local and county law enforcement. Initially the counties and towns had made appeals to Governor Olsen for the stationing of trained troops in the rural areas of mass evacuations. These requests seemingly went nowhere. Then on the 18th of April 1942, the Governor called together specific county officials statewide. Along with the State officials, the governor also specifically invited county civil defense directors, sheriffs, supervisors, and farm agents to the meeting. At this meeting he requested that they organize all men that could qualify into the California State Militia (CSM). He further stated that these militias would be separate from the then-operational California State Guard. Specifically Olsen wanted at least 100,000 men between the ages of 16
to 65 knowledgeable or trainable in firearms that could be immediately placed into rifle companies that could repel enemy combatants and stop potentially subversive activities. From that general meeting the Military Aide to the Governor, Lt Col. Herbert Herlihy was given the task of putting together a workable plan and seeing to its implementation. Toward this end Herlihy produced a ten page pamphlet titled "Rules and Regulations - California State Militia and Licensed Military Companies." Each provided history, rules, regulations, and at the end an application for qualified citizens.

Herlihy's plan was to have the militias organized on a county-by-county basis. In order to do this he would utilized the County Farm Agents who were under the direction of the agricultural arm of the State University system, to act as both the organizer and recruiter for each militia. The objective was to motivate as many 16 to 65 year old men to volunteer for service in this new final defense force. Each soldier would provide their own firearms, ammunition, and uniform, all without being paid. Once a company-sized militia was formed and the Farm Agent was satisfied that it was a cohesive group, the company would elect their officers and the Agent would license it into the California State Militia (CSM). He would then maintain the militia’s records until it was formally incorporated into the CSM. Once the unit was part of CSM it would take over maintaining its own records, command structure, and lines of communications to the CSM central command in Sacramento.

Governor Olson's executive order creating a licensed California State Militia (CSM) in April of 1942 had an immediate effect - the biggest being upon the rank and file of the California State Guard (CSG), all of whom, to put it politely, were unpleasantly surprised by this unexpected development. However, once the duties and purpose of the CSM were made clear, there was a reluctant acceptance. There were also clear differences between the two, including CSM volunteers providing all their own gear, ammunition, weapons, and uniform. They were explicitly tasked to be combat units and not to perform other military duties such as guard work, security, and peace keeping. Additionally, they were assured that their units could only operate within their own counties. Finally, unlike the CSG, there were no provisions or promises of pay or compensation in any form. Essentially, the State Guard was a military organization founded to augment the strength and readiness of the National Guard while the State Militia was preparing the “unorganized militia” for a last stand.

In four months and after thousands of meetings and a recruitment campaign waged in mass mailings and over the radio, the CSM had 250 licensed companies with a force of over 24,000 militiamen. By late autumn of 1942, units of the California State Guard were operating more and more within the rural areas of the State. This afforded them the opportunity to work with the licensed militia companies. Those CSM companies that were sufficiently trained and of adequate troop strength were in numerous cases incorporated into the California State Guard, who by this time had established Paso Robles as headquarters for it’s 3rd Battalion, 12th Regiment of the "California State Guard Reserve".

At this time the majority of State Guard troops were on active duty within the coastal region and still on full alert. This allowed authorities to keep the threat of panic to a minimum. This control proved especially useful when several balloon-driven incendiary bombs lunched from Japan made it to California’s coast. These simple low tech bomb’s were responsible for starting some small fires, yet their intended purpose of creating panic never materialized since the news of these "bombings" was tightly controlled.

Of course there was never an actual invasion. Most of the units of the CSM spent their duty time performing air and coastal observation duties and conducting military training. In some cases their training was provided with the assistance of civilian organizations such as the National Rifle Association which ran a "Home Guard" marksmanship training program designed specifically for militiamen. While the CSM performed their volunteer duty the CSG was actively spread across the State providing critical security along with an array of necessary military duties, from running military bases to guarding the government buildings from potential sabotage and so on. However in 1943, with the tide of war changing in favor of the Allies, the state's need for such a large internal force diminished. By July the Military Department had initiated a statewide reorganization of these forces. During this reorganization most CSM militiamen were absorbed into the "California State Guard Reserve" (CSGR). With most of their soldiers taken off active duty, a process was underway to muster out some of these units altogether. By late August the State Guard Reserve units consisted of a network of companies geographically evenly spread across the State.

For the remainder of the war, units continued to train, with Camp Roberts and Camp San Luis Obispo providing facilities. There were lots of rumors that as National Guard units returned, State Guardsmen would be absorbed into their ranks. This did not occur, though there were soldiers that did individually join the federal forces. By the fall of 1945 most of the standing companies were receiving their disbanding orders. Their legacy established, they had collectively performed essential duties that saved lives and kept the state together by guarding the lines of communications and strategic assets. Vital facilities were protected by their units ranging from the Golden Gate Bridge to the public airports that had been converted to military transport centers. There were special duties where units performed search and rescue missions for crashed military planes and lost personnel. By September of 1945 over 75,000 citizens had proudly served in California’s state defense forces.

With victory secured in the Pacific and Europe, National Guard units began returning in mass. The authorization for maintaining State Guard units vanished and by 1946 all the units had been mustered out. Yet some of these units stayed together, being brought under local authority and re-designated as local militia with new uniform insignia. It was at this time that the remnants of California’s State Guard and State Militia were consolidated and renamed to the California State Military Reserve, though it was a name in form more than in body.

The Korean Conflict Becomes a Cold Korean War, 1947- 1975

In the smoke and remnants left in the wake of the Second World War, a new competition grew between some of the victors - especially those with competing interests. With Europe and Japan still stitching up their wounds, Korea, divided in half by the Eastern and Western Allies, became a theater of such contention. What became the North gained sponsorship from China and the Soviet Union while the South was firmly supported and occupied by the United States with support from other Western Allies. For this reason there were many border skirmishes between troops of the North and the South between 1948 and 1950. War broke out after the North finally invaded the South on the 25th of June 1950. The West called it a "proxy war,” a war between competing ideologies - a war between the West and the Communist nations. The Koreans of the North saw their mission more simply as the need to unify their homeland and save it from being a “Western puppet state.” Nevertheless, their ranks swelled with volunteers from China and their vehicles were Russian made. United Nations resolutions brought forth forces along with the Americans committed to repelling the northern invaders. As a result, many National Guard units across the United States were federalized and mobilized for deployment in the Korean War.

In the summer of 1950 at least a third of California's National Guard units were federalized. In response the state legislature, invoking its right to again raise the California State Militia, created 63 active duty positions in the State for what was now called the California National Guard Reserve (CNGR). Over the course of the war, the CNGR soldiers occupied a number of full-time positions in Sacramento, and the Military Department’s Office of the Adjutant General (OTAG) grew to nearly 130. And among the field forces of the CNGR there were 67 full-time positions filled in support of growing this state defense force. These field forces reached a strength of over 13,000 and were divided among two division headquarters, eight brigades, twenty-four battalions, and ninety-six companies.

As demilitarization occurred after the war, the active duty jobs vanished and the CNGR once again became a cadre organization, meaning its authorization called for it maintaining only a skeleton staff for each battalion. By 1962 the state militia was once again named the California State Military Reserve and continued under this banner until it was disband in 1969 in the wake of an intelligence scandal. A year later the famous Camp Roberts was closed. The camp reopened the following year as the California National Guard's new Reserve Component Training Center.

The Rebirth of the California State Military Reserve, 1976 - 1995

Recognizing the value of a military reserve dedicated solely to the State of California that could provide valued services during natural and man-made disasters, Governor Jerry Brown in 1976 restored the authorization for the California State Military Reserve. It was brought back on-line to maintain a cadre force so that it could support National Guard units, and in the event of state-declared emergencies it could provide specialized assistance in terms of communications, logistics, and support. To this end, the OTAG divided the State into two command areas. Northern California was the operational arena of the Northern Area Command (NACOM) and southern half of the State was turned over to the Southern Area Command (SACOM), each command maintaining numerous cadre-sized Battalions. There were also specialized units that included a Training Command, centered out of Camp San Luis Obispo, a Military History unit that operated the Center for Military History in Sacramento, a Medical Brigade and an Aviation Brigade. NACOM established its headquarters at the Alameda Naval Supply Depot located in the San Francisco Bay. In the case of SACOM, its Brigades were numbered 301st through the 305th, with its headquarters being in an upstairs suite of Building 55 at the Joint Forces Training Base at Los Alamitos in Orange County. Both of these commands saw joint training as essential, and at least once a year they would organize Statewide MUTA (Multi-Unit Training Activity) usually held at the famous WWII troop mobilization center "Camp Roberts" or at the Home of the California National Guard, Camp San Luis Obispo. Outside of training and drill activities most of the units worked with their local NG units, Chapters of the Red Cross, and community organizations. SACOM had each of its Battalions assigned to and operating in specific National Guard armories where they trained, organized, and supported Guard units.

Some of the direct support to California’s Army National Guard (CA ARNG) units in this period were what some soldiers called MEDPREP. Described as a form of SRP processing, the combined commands of SACOM and NACOM lent troops to this effort. This all-in-one form of soldier processing that combined the medical and administrative processing tasks was in practice by 1989. CSMR soldiers were called upon to Camp Roberts in 1990 to ensure that ARNG soldiers were processed and ready to deploy in the Middle East where Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had invaded the neighboring nation of Kuwait. The following year with the overseas deployment of additional troops, the CSMR again answered the country’s call to duty, this time sending soldiers to conduct unit processing at Camp San Luis Obispo.

Los Angeles Burning

In spring of 1991, following a high speed police chase, LAPD officers were caught on videotape ruthlessly beating the uncooperative driver, Rodney King. People across the county were appalled by what they saw. The mayor condemned the officer’s actions and the Los Angeles District Attorney charged the four principle officers involved with use of excessive force. The case came to trial in April of 1992, and on the 29th the jury returned three acquittals and hung verdict. Shortly following the verdict’s announcement, a growing crowd of upset protesters gathered outside the Downtown LA County Court. As it grew, some of the protestors reportedly began damaging cars. Across town to the south, as sunset approached, people in parts of South Central Los Angeles began gathering and discussing the disturbing verdict. A group of two dozen LAPD officers were dispatched to disperse the growing crowd near the intersection of Florence and Normandy. When they arrived they were outnumbered by an increasingly belligerent crowd expressing hostility at the officers’ presence. This group of police quickly retreated. Later, LAPD Chief Daryl Gates ordered the withdrawal of all police from the South-Central District as angry citizens began to riot. With several square miles of Los Angeles cordoned off, it was left in the hands of the gangs and criminals who quickly realized that the district was theirs. What followed were four days of looting, arson, and general violence. By the second night aerial views from news helicopters rolled across TV screens showing a dark,

powerless section of the vast metropolitian ocean where dozens if not hundreds of businesses and buildings throughout South L.A. blazing. It was as if there was a dark wilderness in the middle of the city spotted with campfires. In the morning thick smoke from the fires settled on the city like a new layer of smog. The civil unrest Los Angeles experienced over the course of those four days was the worst in United States history. According to the statistics there were 53 deaths, 2,383 injured, over 7,000 fires, and over 3,100 businesses looted and/or damaged. The total loss was put just under $1,000,000,000 (one billion) dollars. The unpopular verdict against the officers also spawned smaller riots and arson events in neighboring cities like Pasadena and in other parts of the state like San Francisco and Oakland, as well as nationally in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Atlanta (to name a few).

To quell the violence and restore order, with local law enforcement withheld, the mayor appealed to Governor Pete Wilson who then called in the National Guard and later called for federal assistance. The Los Alamitos JFTB was used as the staging center for over 4,000 National Guardsmen who were finally deployed on the fourth day, May 2nd, into the most affected areas of South-Central Los Angeles. To support the mobilization several teams of CSMR soldiers were dispatched, most from the Communications-Electronics Detachment-South (CE Det-South), which was under SACOM. These soldiers received recognition from the State for their excellent work in assisting the National Guard troops and particularly in handling statewide logistics communications in coordinating supply lines to the base. In one instance an important shipment of materials, supplies, and ammunition was coming in on a C-130 transport aircraft coming from Mather Air Force Base, Sacramento. The pilots radioed that their plane was handicapped and experiencing problems. At that moment Staff Sgt. (SMR) Jared Lang was alone running the CSMR Emergency Operations Center HF radio net. He took the pilots’ message and called for a crash crew to meet it on the runway. This is but one example of California’s state militia making a difference during a time of great need. The efforts of CSMR soldiers were later credited with providing communications that aided in getting essential supplies from locations such as Sacramento and Fresno necessary for the ARNG troops that deployed on Day 4. There were numerous forces seeking to bring peace to the area but it was the ARNG soldiers with their boots on the ground patrolling the streets of Los Angeles that finally stopped the violence. With the street patrols, check points, and the power turned on, complete order to the district was restored. Uncertain of civil stability, the Military Department kept troops and intelligence gathering in the field for weeks. The value and work of the CE Det-So teams convinced command to keep them on state active duty orders until April 18th.

In September of 1992, CSMR commander ordered a Class 5 (statewide) MUTA to be held at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) where notes from the April-May Los Angeles Civil disturbances were looked at and the citizen-soldiers of CE-Det South were appreciated for their efforts and good work. It was examples like theirs and those of others that gave impetus to the whole of the CSMR to excel at their tasks and provide professionalism and excellence to the state and to their communities.

At the 1993 statewide MUTA held in September, hundreds of CSMR troops gathered for three days of training. Assigned to WWII-era billeting, old two story wooden barracks, each unit established their own security post in their building. The three days were filled with classes and practice sessions for EOC operations, communications, and formal documentation procedures. On the last day all the CSMR units stood in their formations, spread along the gigantic tarmac in the center of the base and received praise from their commander, Major General (CA) Ron Markarian. Few if any knew that this was to be the last large statewide MUTA to be approved for the CSMR. In late spring of 1994, SACOM would hold its own MUTA for its Battalions at El Toro MCAS under the operational name of Operation Squawk Talk with communications being a focus. In 1995 at Camp Mataquay, a Boy Scout camp in San Diego County, a training MUTA for SACOM units was called that included CPR/First Aid training and a wide assortment of soldier skills, including constructing military modular GP tents and camouflage netted command centers, along with team work demonstrations and drill & ceremony practice.

Time for a Change, 1995 - 1998

In 1995 there was a sense of uncertainty among some members of the legislature and OTAG due to hearing of some bad press about the activities of a few CSMR soldiers. Primarily these concerns revolved around certain CSMR soldiers taking it upon themselves to operate outside of their usual parameters. Their feelings were that the CSMR may have lost sight of its mission. This initiated an entire reorganization of the CSMR and creation of new units better aligned to support their National Guard counterparts. As 1996 rolled in this reorganization was rolled out. The planned implementation included all the CSMR soldiers statewide being mustered out and their units disbanded, immediately followed by creation of new units. The State appointed officer staff of each of the new units were authorized to select the soldiers they wanted to fill their unit’s ranks, selecting them from the old unit rosters. For each soldier selected an invitation was sent stating that a position existed that they were deemed qualified for. Each soldier had to essentially reenlist, take a new Oath of Allegiance to the State of California’s Constitution and the United States Constitution, and provide their personal documentation. The new units included the 49th Military Police Support Brigade, the 40th Infantry Division Support Brigade, and the Installation Support Group (to name but a few). However, there were numerous ranking officers that could not find slots in the new CSMR and thus retired or mustered out.

Operation Millennium Guardian, 1998 - 2000

As early as two years before the arrival of the new millennium and amidst growing public fears of disaster or civil unrest on Y2K (Year 2000), CSMR units donated extra days per month to train and prepare for the possibility of being activated. This Y2K training grew increasingly more intense as December of 1999 approached. There were general fears and media-promoted fears that law and order in American society would crumble as utilities, infrastructure, and other services controlled by computers failed due to the dates in their application turning to zeros on January 1st, 2000. Components of the National Guard were therefore placed on active duty along with soldiers of the CSMR.

As December came to an end, more than three CSMR teams in Southern California were activated, providing security and coordinating communications. And though the media was proved wrong as far as it threat forecasts, these teams and their members distinguished themselves both in the eyes of their command and in the eyes of the Joint Command in Sacramento.
Another instance of the CSMR readiness in this period, in early Fall of 1999 following a regular Unit Training Assembly (UTA), a call came through from OTAG requesting that a team be assembled from various unit’s Communications sections to handle radio traffic for a State emergency. Heavy rains in the northern and central regions of the State were causing severe flooding and the likelihood for mounting coordinated rescue efforts. To meet this need the CSMR put a five-member team on active duty at the EOC (Emergency Operations Center), run by the ISG for the Joint Forces Training Base at Los Alamitos.

When it comes to emergency operations, the Y2K panic is to date the most extensive operation that the CSMR had participated since it’s 1996 reorganization. Those who volunteered spent months training for the event. The National Guard was spearheading the operation, with CSMR communication teams in the field to coordinate the statewide radio network. For the CSMR team roles there were four teams in the field spread around the lower half of the State. Their locations and strength: Compton (4), Fresno (4), Los Angeles (6), and Visalia (4). Deployment took place on December 30th with the teams traveling to their designated locations. By the 31st the radio nets were up and carrying traffic. The New Year arrived and thanks to years of preparations and hard work, virtually none of the predicted disasters of consequence occurred. Though the National Guard had a malfunctioning helicopter go down, the New Year and century came in without a hitch. By morning the teams were taken off duty and life resumed.

A Time to Remember, 1941 / 2001

The new millennium arrived without much fanfare and few problems, but towards year end of the year 2000 came the chance to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the California state defense forces, their creation occurring just prior to the start of WWII.

In late morning of December 2nd, 2000, over a hundred soldiers and visitors gathered in Southern California on the tarmac at Los Alamitos JFTB to honor the history and mission of the State Military Reserve. The soldiers were from the combined units of the CA SMR, principally the rank and file of the 40th Support, Military History, and the Installation Support Group. Together with the state’s commanding officers and local dignitaries, the men and women of the CA SMR listened to their commanders recognize the historical and on-going contributions of the State Military Reserve.

In the words of the CA SMR commanding general, Brigadier General (CA) Robert Cervantes, "the mission of the California State Military Reserve is more critical today than ever before". In his presentation he outlined the services now so critically provided for units of the National Guard. And reminded the troops of the importance of continuing to maintain the outstanding level of service they provide. With reduced budgets and downsized forces, National Guard reliance on the reserves will only increase he assured the troops and their guests.

That same month, Governor Gray Davis issued a State Proclamation recognizing December 12th as State Military Reserve Day. At Los Alamitos JFTB, the gymnasium was cleaned up so that a luncheon could be given for the soldiers and local officials, including several mayors, council members, and county supervisors. Many of these local officials made presentations and gave certificates to the units and components of the CSMR stationed at Los Alamitos JFTB. The ISG was one to receive special recognition for the services it had rendered to local communities in recent years.

No one can say that the military doesn't like to celebrate! Only days after having a DAY set aside for recognizing the CSMR, there was the opportunity to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary and combine it with their annual Christmas party. In this instance it was deemed that neither an Officer's Club nor a Club House would suit the needs of the Southern California units. Therefore in formal attire of flashy gold braid, royal blue jackets, bow ties, glossy black dress shoes, evening dresses, and no high heels was the venue of the evening as the famous WWII merchant marine ship, the SS Lane Victory played host to the State Military Reserve’s gala 60th celebration and Christmas party.

The setting, a ship birthed during WWII and only 5 years younger than California’s State Military Reserve itself, added a dramatic touch to the significance of the event. With ISG’s own commander COL (CA) Ross Moen, serving as master of ceremony, was recounting the 60 years of the service that the CSMR has provided the citizens and State of California. Following an excellent buffet dinner were wine and champagne for all. Formal toasts in military fashion were given to each and every branch of the service, for fallen comrades, for spouses and partners, for those still missing, crowning the meal.

Of special significance was the brief speech given by Brigadier General (CA) Richard Pierce, commander of the 40th Infantry Division Support Brigade, who went out of his way to appreciate all those who served him and have been patient with his style of command. He announced that this would likely be his last command. Also gracing the celebration with his presence was retired Major General (CA) Ronald Markarian, who had served as the Reserve’s commanding general up until the reorganization in 1996.

Exploring the ship was an adventure in looking back into history. It brought to mind the illustrious history of the California’s State Military Reserve and was a breath taking exercise of recognizing the hopes and efforts of tens of thousands of men and women that built it and have kept it strong to what now stands today as a symbol of dedication and selfless service to the flag that waves over it and people it serves.

The War on Terror, 2001 - 2006

After the September 11th, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, OTAG issued new order to the CSMR units: RECRUIT - RECRUIT - RECRUIT! As 2001 drew to a close the authorized size and mission of the CSMR was expanding. With National Guard units getting federalized and deployed the CSMR was not longer in cadre mode, yet had a big mission. One of the first ways this role was manifest was at Camp Roberts, where thousands of National Guard troops needed to be processed to determine their state of readiness and possible deployment. Between the years of 2002 to 2008, CSMR units from all over the State provided soldiers who could perform personnel processing duties that ranged from giving soldiers physicals to updating soldier records. In the initial mobilization, CSMR soldiers made up the great majority of the processors both on the personnel and medical sides. At any one time there could be over 50 soldiers (some from ISG) working on personnel records and twice that on the medical side at the base spread between two or more buildings.

An entire CSMR Medical Detachment was running the medical records and medical checkups at Camp Roberts. Their number always outnumbered soldiers that were performing the SRP administrative duties. Depending on the number of units being processed determined the duration that CSMR soldiers had to commit to in order to be on state active duty orders. This could range from the minimum of one weekend (3 days) all the way up to a full month. In the words of Staff Sgt. (SMR) Ken Walker of ISG, who worked at several of the SRP events starting in 2006, the CSMR staff was “always improving and getting more effective.” For him this work was a tangible way he could contribute to the welfare of the soldiers being deployed saying it “really made me feel good contributing.” Though selected CSMR members are sometimes called upon to perform SRP work today, by 2008 the National Guard had developed units that could largely handle most of the personnel processing and medical tasks. Nevertheless the impact and valued service of the CSMR officers and enlisted personnel involved with the SRP mission will long be remembered. Of course the war on active enemies of the United States continues. To meet this threat, CSMR units such as the ISG's Security Section have been ensuring that assigned tasks are carried out with full professionalism. The war on America’s enemies may not end soon, yet we are better prepared to deal with it now than ever before.
For ISG, the Joint Forces Training Base was expanding its role in supporting overseas operations, with an increasing number of National Guard units calling it home. To accommodate this the base command elected to give ISG a new facility to operate from, a first floor wing of building 16. It meant acquiring actual offices rather than the cubicles we had been using for years. In the end it was a trade, the large meeting room and cubicles for a long hallway (with “ISG” emblazed upon the floor) and five offices.

Operation Fall Blaze, 2007

Severe drought had settled on Southern California since the start of 2007, by March it was a Class D3—extremely hazardous —and it continued throughout the summer. In July the wildfires
hit on the east side of the Sierras and up in the Reno, NV and Big Pine, CA areas. In the latter half of September as the extreme drought continued, high winds whipped across the region and fires burst forth from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. With some starting naturally, from down power lines, others were arson. In response, the Governor declared seven counties in a state of emergency and the Office of Emergency Services requested the California National Guard and California State Military Reserve send soldiers, including from the Installation Support Group (ISG) to assist in the logistics, security, firefighting and air support. Named Operation Fall Blaze, by November the National Guard had activated over 2,500 troops and the CSMR provided over 100 soldiers. Together this force made significant contributions to fighting the fires, performing rescue operations, assisting law enforcement and civilian firefighting operations, providing communications and handling logistics. Specifically, some of the ISG teams manned IC4U Commo units to ensure fire operations communications. By November 9th all of the fires were fully contained. A half million acres burned in these fires, along with destroying over 2,050 homes, 239 vehicles, 783 other structures, and 5 lives lost.

Emergence of the ISC, 2008 - 2012

On the 9th of February 2008 before the salutes of the men and women who had proudly served her, the colors of the Installation Support Group were retired. At this event alongside the old PX near the main entrance to the Los Alamitos JFTB, Brigadier General (CA) Emory Hagan III and Command Sgt. Maj. (SMR) Robert Delaney along with CSMR staff shared their praise for the Installation Support Groups work and achievements and oversaw ISG put to rest in an honorable ceremony, its colors rolled up and its name added to the roll of bygone unit in the annuals of California’s State Defense Forces. In its place was birthed the Installation Support Command (ISC) with an expanded mission that included operational support for Camp Roberts and Camp San Luis Obispo. This was recognition to all the soldiers of ISG, that their efforts and hard work had not gone un-noticed. And that collectively they are viewed as achieving in its new role even more.

For the Installation Support Command this meant more challenge, yet during that spring of 2008 a reorganization propagated throughout the CSMR seeking to challenge and grows all of CSMR. Units of the CSMR have responded by meeting our core competencies: Flexibility, Adaptability, and Continuity. In hind-sight it is quite clear we have done this.

Operation Lightning Strike

With an ongoing moderate to severe drought continuing in 2008 a June low pressure system passing over Central and Northern California brought on a unique dry lightning storm between June 20th and the 22nd. In that short period it started nearly 2,000 fires in 17 counties. By July 5th there were 328 active wildfires being fought. In less than eight months since Operations Fall Blaze, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger found it necessary to call upon selected CSMR and National Guard troops for Operation Lightning Strike to help support containment of the wildfires occurring from Goleta to Big Sur and across the Los Padres National Forest. Governor Schwarzenegger dismayed at the cost to people, resources, and the State, was quoted as saying, now "it is fire season all year round." For the first time, at least 400 National Guardsmen, including NG units from others States, were deployed as boots on the ground to man the fire lines. And in the souring over the fires Air National Guard units earned their wings while proving their skill and professionalism running air firefighting operations. As reported in OTAG's Year in Review, "more than 155 CSMR soldiers and Airmen served a total of more than 4,240 man-days in support of Operation Lightning Strike..." ISC contributed numerous soldiers to the operation and formed special teams, some with the mission to provide logistics and direct support to the civilian firefighting units and some running IC4U modular units. An IC4U (Incident Commander's Command, Control, Communications Unit) is designed as a "universal" communications providing various types of receiving and broadcast modalities that help it to plug into the Statewide emergency operations network.

For all units of the CSMR, 2008 proved to be a very busy year. Though Operation Lightning Strike occupied several months’ worth of attention units were always seeking to fulfill their regular commitments. During July, the ISC was asked to move to building 283, formerly occupies by an adjutant unit. Building #253 offered several lockable offices and thankfully a large meeting room. Some examples of specialized tasks include its dozen chaplains who provided precious services that included counseling soldiers, both ARNG and SMR, leading 25 funeral services for active, reserve and retired soldiers, 18 casualty notifications to families, numerous hospital visits to injured soldiers, and over 180 counseling sessions to families. The many tough trainers among the CSMR ranks provided training and instruction not only to CSMR units, yet also to NG troops. Certainly that was the case with Task Force Victory, where experienced CSMR instructors took Guardsmen through urban warfare, convoy operations, small arms and automatic weapons training, battle drills, and battlefield communications. With the SRP processing, though its role was reduced, CSMR soldiers still continued to process more than 1,000 National Guardsmen for deployment to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The increasing demand for CSMR support pushed it to grow its ranks to a total strength of over 770.

Things didn't slow down in 2009, the size of the CSMR troop strength reached 840. In that year, the dozen CSMR chaplains provided 24 casualty notifications, 48 funeral services for all branches of the service, 284 counseling sessions, 25 hospital visits, 9 suicide interventions, attended 104 briefings, including Safety, Stand-down, Yellow Ribbon, Strong Bonds, and more. ISC (Los Alamitos) continued to provide base security, and support to special events, including ‘Wings, Wheels, and Rotors’, and July 4th Family Celebration, and exercising lots of flexibility for it had to squeeze its materials into one office of Building #283 as it adopted to sharing the building with the base’s NG medical unit, who lost their building to the demolishers.
Training characterized 2010, with fewer natural disasters to respond to the whole CSMR. Now having grown to 915 soldiers, we focused on strengthening and broadening our skills base. Even the support for our chaplains grew, with 3 assistant chaplains added. Collectively our chaplain corps performed 329 counseling sessions, 19 hospital visits, 8 suicide interventions, 27 causality notifications, 27 funeral services, and provided services at over 60 events, including Yellow Ribbon Reintegration. For the chaplain portion of SRP processing at Camp Roberts CSMR soldiers volunteered over 1,400 hours to ensure it was successfully completed. For ISC, it also was a year of juggling training dates and locations around as it sought to ensure that the Guard’s medical unit had the facilities for their work.

The ISC continued its growth in size and operations throughout 2011. Reaching and challenging itself to meet the needs of the Los Alamitos JFTB and its surrounding communities. During the year, training, and providing skilled soldiers was the order of the day. Our troops continued to prove their value by supplying the State with professional soldiers that exceed the expectations of Guardsmen and State officials alike.

Notable events of this busy year began with the EMS section assembling a special training component of over a half dozen instructors to conduct certified CPR, AED, and first aid training of the base’s Civil Air Patrol cadets. For the ranks of the ISC enlisted, their skill building was tested as each prepare for the annual MILSTAKES soldier skills competition held in February. At this competition, all NCO soldiers were tested to determine their proficiency at various basic soldier tasks and skills, including compass orientation, map navigation, radio net operations, first aid, HAZMAT, and weapons. Graders gave the competitors scores and in some instances such as at the HAZMAT station a stop watch did the grading by supplying the best time for a soldiers most rapidly dawning their MOPP 4 suit. For the MILSTAKES, speed, accuracy, correctness, and completeness were the measuring stick that could put a soldier name on the coveted unit trophy. The completion’s winner of 2011 was Staff Sgt. Alex Verduga from the Engineering Section.

In the months to come the ranks of the enlisted were pressed to hone marching skills as 1st Sgt. Keith Kuba applied his Marine training and ensured that everyone improved. Meanwhile Sgt. John Di Bona trained soldiers in casualty triage and first responder disaster first aid. Even the Command Sgt. Maj. Shaw was leading general soldier skills training. Section groups like the COMMO had veterans including their Mater Sgt. Jared Lang doing advanced communications training. While Sgt. 1st Class Hugo Argumosa trained ISC Medical section and firefighter personnel in MEDEVAC procedures and as the Security section practiced loading and unloading the standard security weapons.
While the sections engaged in continued training, 1st Lt. Heather Hagan led ISC’s special training component of Red Cross CPR and First Aid instructors in preparing for conducting more training in certifying both soldiers and civilians. In the mid-summer, the SECFOR security unit had its hands full distinguishing themselves by providing and coordinating a portion of the security operations for the annual 4th of July extravaganza at JFTB Los Alamitos. As nearly 30,000 people came to the base to enjoyed food, games, live music, and fireworks, secure in knowing that their security was not only provided for by local law enforcement and units of the National Guard, yet also the ISC’s security force, medics, and firefighters—all of them ready to be of service at a moments notice.

Led by Sgt. Lapoyan, ISC’s soldiers got a lesson in interacting with news media. Such training is critical not only for ensuring a positive reputation for the SMR, but also for protecting
operational security, the safety of the SMR’s soldiers, and the SMR’s ability to perform its mission outside the gates of the JFT Base at Los Alamitos.

The last quarter of 2011 focused on physical and mental fitness, part of “always ready, always there” means being always fit and able to perform military duty. At this time ISC soldiers shine as they volunteer time and energy to offer National Guard families both in family support and the annual toy drive, Project Holiday Smiles, and food drive for needy families of service-members. For the year-end ISC drill meeting included soldiers being inspected in the dress Class A uniforms, some in their greens and others in the new blue service uniform, by Sgt. 1st Class Weston V. Sanchez Sr. And after inspection all jumped back into their ACU and attended the annual section training review for the year. This was followed by the good cheer that spread throughout ISC headquarters as the unit began a holiday pot luck, hosted by the HQ Commandant Cpt. Heather Hagan, was launched. ISC commander, Col. Peter Seitz, warmly delivered a holiday message of congratulations, pointing out the year’s accomplishments and hope, for the great potential of what can yet be achieved. He granted an early dismissal so all the soldiers could get ready for that evening’s annual combined unit’s CSMR banquet held at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim.

With our completion of 2012, a year of hard work and plenty of it, we recognize the achievements of our soldiers and units. We appreciate our recruiters, enlistees, NCOs, and Officers as our statewide troop strength soared over 1040. As we entered 2013 we are prepared for whatever will come – we resolve to continue to be adaptable and flexible. We will always put our mission first and never quit. There is no defeat in our vocabulary. And our fallen comrades are always with us!

Some of the on-going support projects and duties provided by the Installation Support Command over the past years include:

Over the course of California's history the names carried by the California State Defense Forces have changed many times. Yet those that have carried their standard did so proudly, just as they carried out their missions each and every time. Today, we stand tall in calling ourselves the CALIFORNIA STATE MILITARY RESERVE. It bears repeating that the lone red star on our flag was first raised over California in 1836 calling for freedom and new hope for its people, and that the grizzly added in 1846 bespeaks the fierce nature of our people. The words CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC serve to always keep us mindful of our commitment to the ideals and practice of being a Democratic Republic. Together let us each keep our former names and our present one close to our hearts:


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Updated 8 February 2016