North Carolina State Defense Militia

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The North Carolina State Guard was officially established as a state defense force on 27 February 1941 when the North Carolina National Guard was mobilized into Federal Service during World War Two. The State Guard actually began organizing in early February with the appointment of officers, and the mustered strength reached a high of 2,128 by 1944. With the return of the National Guard, units began being inactivated in 1946, and the State Guard was completely disbanded by July 1947.

The North Carolina State Defense Militia (NCSDM) was reactivated by North Carolina Governor James G. Martin in February 1988.[1]

The famous NC band leader Bo Thorpe was named NCSDM state commander and a brigadier general (NC) by Governor Martin, but he was later dismissed by Martin. Martin's wife Dottie complained that she had heard Thorpe make a racial remark in a joke he told at a state gathering. Though Thorpe stated that he did not recall making the remark, he did not deny it and he did not contest his dismissal.

The NC State Defense Militia operates under Chapter 127A of the North Carolina General Statutes,[2] and as such, is a distinct unit from the NC National Guard. Under United States Code 32 sub-section 109,[3] "may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces".

The NCSDM participated in operations for Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and members filled in for National Guard troops while they were deployed for the Persian Gulf War 1990–91. Other actions were during coastal storms and an outbreak of tornadoes in King, North Carolina.[4]

Joint Resolution 987 of the North Carolina General Assembly ratified 27 June 1995 honored the efforts and assistance of the members of the NCSDM and expressed its appreciation for the service that the members rendered to their respective communities, counties, and to the State of North Carolina.[4]

Activities of the NCSDM were temporarily suspended in April 1996 by the North Carolina Adjutant General, following many assorted complaints by Guard members and leaders, about the standards of conduct of NCSDM members, who Army and Air Guard personnel alleged had trashed armories and equipment and disrespected Guard troops. The final straw came when one NCSDM officer, a lieutenant who had no military experience, dressed down a US Army paratrooper at Ft. Bragg for not saluting him, creating an uproar with the Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division. The incident raised the ire of Army generals who threatened to kick the NC National Guard off Fort Bragg training areas if it did not rein in the NCSDM. Most NCSDM members were officers and had little, if any military experience. Active military personnel, in addition to Guard members complained about poor uniform standards and unsatisfactory appearance of NCSDM officers and personnel.

This temporary suspension is still in effect.


  1. ^ PR Newswire (22 February 1988). "Governor Martin creates State Defense Militia to support North Carolina National Guard". PR Newswire. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "NC General Statutes Chapter 127A". North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "US Code Title 32 Sub-section 109". Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. 
  4. ^ a b "H987 [Res 1995-11]". State of North Carolina. 27 June 1995. Retrieved 18 March 2011.