Alabama State Defense Force
|Alabama State Defense Force|
|Type||State defense force|
|Size||1,000 legally authorized|
|Part of||National Guard Bureau, Alabama Military Department|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Taylor Harden Armory, Montgomery, Alabama|
|Commander in Chief||Gov. Robert Bentley|
|Adjutant General||MG Perry G. Smith|
|Commander||BG(AL) Dale Webb|
The Alabama State Defense Force (ASDF) is a military entity authorized by the State Code of Alabama. The ASDF is the state’s authorized state defense force and assumes the state mission of the Alabama National Guard in the event the Guard is mobilized. The ASDF is composed of retired, prior active-duty, and prior-reserve military personnel and selected professional persons who volunteer their time and talents in further service to their state. The Alabama State Defense Force is allowed under section 31-2-8 of the Code of Alabama.
Prior to the modern National Guard, states would provide volunteer militia units to augment the federal army in times of war. In the Mexican-American War, Alabama provided the United States with multiple units of Alabama militia, with most serving for less than a year.
After the declaration of World War II, the majority of the National Guard was mobilized, leaving governors without troops to guard against invasion, provide disaster relief, and protect against civil unrest. Therefore, many states, including Alabama, raised state defense forces to act as a replacement for the National Guard during the war. In 1940, Governor Frank M. Dixon created the Alabama State Guard, recruiting primarily from World War I veterans, mainly from the American Legion. Alabama took a unique approach in creating its state defense force. While other states actively recruited from veteran's organizations, Alabama went a step further and "gave the American Legion of Alabama the responsibility for creating and running its State Guard," and in return, Alabama "was able to achieve a functioning state guard sooner than most states." By using an existing private organization as the framework for their state defense force, Alabama was able to achieve full readiness far sooner than might be expected. At the war's end, the Alabama State Guard was deactivated.
On December 22, 1983, Governor George Wallace signed Executive Order Number 20, which authorized the creation of the Alabama State Defense Force, the successor of the Alabama State Guard which was disbanded in World War II. On August 14, 2012, Governor Robert Bentley signed into law the Alabama State Defense Force bill (SB278), which added clarification to the role of the ASDF in relation to the Alabama National Guard, so that the two organizations can be better integrated in future stateside missions.
The purpose of the Alabama State Defense Force is to augment or replace the stateside Alabama National Guard when some or all of these National Guard units have been deployed outside of the state. The ASDF is responsible for the non-combat state mission of the National Guard. The ASDF specifically lists its primary responsibilities as such:
- Communications with the ALNG Joint Operation Center (JOC);
- Custodial duties and security of facilities and property;
- Family assistance;
- Recruiting to strength levels authorized by The Adjutant General;
- Responses to tasking from TAG through the ALNG EOC;
- Surveys of key facilities;
- Assist Homeland Defense and The Citizens Corp. as needed and directed by the Governor of the State, the TAG and the ASDF Commander.
All four brigades of the ASDF activated personnel during Hurricane Katrina. Composed of some 600 activated members, the ASDF units which were activated assisted in operating shelters, distribution stations and warehousing as a part of the relief effort to victims of the storm.
The 2nd Battalion of the Alabama State Defense Force also sponsors a cadet program for high school students enrolled in Eastwood Christian School. The program is free to students.
The ASDF is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. The ASDF is organized geographically, into four brigades. The First Brigade's area of operations is northern Alabama. The Second Brigade's region is middle Alabama. The Third Brigade's region is southwestern Alabama. The Fourth Brigade's region is southeastern Alabama.
Awards and decorations
The Alabama State Defense Force issues several ribbons to guardsmen who have merited them, including the following ribbons:
- ASDF Alabama War Ribbon
- ASDF Distinguished Service Ribbon
- ASDF Meritorious Service Ribbon
- ASDF Commendation Ribbon
- ASDF Achievement Ribbon (Officer)
- ASDF Achievement Ribbon (Enlisted)
- ASDF Merit Ribbon
- ASDF Desert Shield/Storm Support Ribbon
- ASDF Disaster Readiness Ribbon
- SGT Dixie Club-Gold Ribbon
- SGT Dixie Club-Silver Ribbon
- SGT Dixie Club-Bronze Ribbon
- ASDF Service Ribbon
- ASDF Distinguished Graduate Ribbon
- ASDF Professional Development Ribbon
- ASDF Officer Training Ribbon
- ASDF Warrant Officer Training Ribbon
- ASDF NCO Training Ribbon
- ASDF C.E.R.T. Ribbon
- ASDF Recruiting Ribbon
- ASDF Super Recruiter Recruiting Ribbon
- ASDF Association Member Ribbon
- ASDF SGAUS Ribbon
- ASDF Outstanding Unit Comm. Ribbon
- SGAUS Superior Unit Citation
- MEMS Academy Unit Citation
- "Code of Alabama 31-2-8".
- Stentiford, Barry M. (2002). The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century. Texas A&M University Press. p. 99. ISBN 1585441813.
- Exec. Order No. 20 (December 22, 1983; in English) Governor of Alabama. Retrieved on September 28, 2013.
- "Alabama SB278".
- Brandon Moseley (August 16, 2012). "Bentley Signs State Defense Force Bill". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Colonel Martin Hershkowitz (MDDF-Ret). Summary of Available Defense Force After Action Reports From Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Deployments (Report). http://www.researchgate.net/publication/235108853_Available_State_Defense_Force_After_Action_Reports_from_Hurricanes_Katrina_and_Rita_Deployments. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- http://sdf.alabama.gov/about-asdf/brigades | ASDF Brigades
- Bush, Eric. "Alabama State Defense Force Awards & Ribbons". Retrieved 6 October 2013.