Vermont State Guard

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The Vermont State Guard
Vermont State Guard Insignia.jpg
The Vermont State Guard insignia
Active 1982 - Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Vermont
Branch Army
Type SDFBranchInsigniaColor.jpg  State defense force
Role Military reserve force
Size 900 (approximately)
Part of Vermont Military Department
Garrison/HQ Colchester, Vermont
Motto "Ready to Serve"
Civilian leadership Governor Peter Shumlin
(Governor of the State of Vermont)
State military leadership Major General Richard D. Morrison

The Vermont State Guard (VSG) is the all-volunteer state defense force of the state of Vermont. The Vermont State Guard serves parallel to the Vermont National Guard, acting as a reserve force for the State of Vermont Military Department. The Vermont State Guard is a reserve force composed of individuals living as civilians when not activated, but the force can be activated in the event of an attack or natural disaster to serve as a force multiplier for the National Guard, and is assigned to fulfill the state mission of the National Guard when the National Guard is deployed.

Unlike the National Guard, the State Guard cannot be federalized or deployed outside of the country. Rather, the VSG can only be called up by of the governor, and cannot be deployed outside of the state without the governor’s permission. The Vermont State Guard is authorized under Title 32, Section 109 of the United States Code and Title 20, Part 3, Chapter 61, of the Vermont State Statutes via Executive Order Number 67.[1]


The Vermont State Guard traces its roots in the American colonial times with local Vermont militias such as the Green Mountain Boys. During the American Revolution, the Green Mountain Boys took part in the campaign against British forces under General John Burgoyne, and assisted in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga.[2]

During the American Civil War, the Vermont Militia was expanded to include multiple units which served against the Confederates. Vermont regiments served in multiple battles, including the Battle of Antietam, the First Battle of Bull Run, the Second Battle of Bull Run. and the Battle of Gettysburg.[3]

During World War II, Vermont's first modern state defense force, set aside as a state organization immune from federal service, was established. During World War II, the Vermont State Guard raised a force of 1,278 men and 131 officers to stand in for the National Guard, and, as summarized by Vermont Governor William H. Wills, "have guarded, at the request of the Federal government, vital structures such as bridges, electric plants and dams, under the worst of conditions, sub zero weather and inadequate clothing and equipment. They have been on call for many local emergencies such as forest fires, the finding of lost persons, searching for airplane crashes" during their service during World War II.[4]

The modern incarnation of the Vermont State Guard was signed into law by Governor Richard A. Snelling on April 26, 1982.[1]


Membership in the Vermont State Guard is open to all citizens of Vermond aged 17 to 80. Prospective members must pass a background check conducted by the Vermont Criminal Investigation Center (VCIC), and pay the accompanying $30 processing fee, as well as cover the cost of their own uniforms. Membership is open to civilians with no prior military service.[5] The Vermont State Guard (VSG) is continually recruiting new members, as the VSG role has increased and become more critical as natural disasters and global conflicts have increased in scale and prevalence.[6]

Training and Duties[edit]

The Vermont State Guard can be called up by the Governor for any peacetime mission of the National Guard, such as acting as first responders to a natural or man-made disaster, quelling riots, or assisting in military funerals. The Vermont State Guard identifies the chief areas of focus of training and service as:

  • Safe traffic and pedestrian control on non-public property.
  • Shelter management / mass care.
  • Emergency medical services.
  • Support of the military community including their families.
  • Emergency response training to VSG members and other individuals in the community.[1]

Although training may take place one weekend per month for most members, members are only required to meet for training once per year if not called into active duty, and members may leave the organization at any time.[7]

The Vermont State Guard has also helped staff National Guard armories that would otherwise be closed while the National Guard has been deployed.[7]


  • Headquarters (Colchester)
  • Medical Corps (Colchester)
  • Aviation (Colchester)
  • Air Wing (South Burlington)
  • 1st Battalion (St. Albans)
  • 2nd Battalion (Rutland)
  • 3rd Battalion (Berlin)
  • 4th Battalion (Williston)
  • 5th Battalion (Lyndonville)[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Vermont State Guard". Vermont State Guard Official Website. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Green Mountain Boys". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 
  3. ^ "Vermont in the Civil War: Battles". Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Wills, William (January 4, 1945). Farewell address of William H. Wills (Speech). Farewell Address. Montpelier, VT. 
  5. ^ "How To Apply". Vermont State Guard Official Website. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Vermont State Guard seeks veterans". Brattleboro Reformer (Colchester). 23 June 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Zind, Steve (30 November 2004). "Vermont State Guard expands its ranks". Vermont Public Radio. 
  8. ^ "Organization". Vermont State Guard Official Website. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 

External links[edit]