Alabama State Defense Force
|Alabama State Defense Force|
|Type||State defense force|
|Size||1,000 legally authorized|
|Part of||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 the state provided guard of the State of Alabama allowed by the Constitution of Alabama, The Code of Alabama and Executive Order. It has an authorized strength of 1,000 members and is organized on the United States Army structural pattern. The ASDF is under the control of the Governor of Alabama, as the state's Commander in Chief, and comes under the authority of The Adjutant General (TAG) of Alabama. The ASDF is an adjunct, volunteer, augmenting force to the Alabama National Guard and is not federally recognized. Currently, the ASDF is inactive awaiting reorganization by the Alabama National Guard.
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. In 2008, members delivered meals and water to Hurricane Gustav evacuees. 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. As recently as April 2013 the ASDF was still seeking applicants, but as of November 2013, it was stood down.
After the Alabama State Defense Force was disbanded, some of its former members formed the Alabama Volunteers as a private organization organized under the Alabama State Defense Force Association, in order to continue their volunteer service in disaster relief efforts until the ALSDF is reactivated.
The mission of the Alabama State Defense Force is to on order of the Adjutant General of Alabama provide trained and ready volunteer individuals and units to support the National Guard conducting Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions to mitigate and/or alleviate the effects of a natural or man-made disaster.
The ASDF is headquartered in Montgomery, 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
- Stentiford, Barry M. (2002). The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century. Texas A&M University Press. p. 99. ISBN 1-58544-181-3.
- Exec. Order No. 20 (December 22, 1983; in English) Governor of Alabama. Retrieved on September 28, 2013.
- "Alabama SB278" (PDF).
- Brandon Moseley (August 16, 2012). "Bentley Signs State Defense Force Bill". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- "Who We Are". Alabama Volunteers Official Website. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- Bush, Eric. "Alabama State Defense Force Awards & Ribbons". Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- The Alabama State Defense Force website archived at web.archive.org
- The Alabama State Defense Force recruiting website archived at web.archive.org