"The militia is certainly an object of primary importance, whether reviewed in reference to the national security, to the satisfaction of the community, or to the preservation of order. " George Washington
The Alabama State Defense Force is a volunteer force authorized by the Alabama Constitution, Alabama State Code, and Executive Order. It allows for 1,000 personnel structured along the pattern of the United States Army. It has been composed of civic minded citizens willing to volunteer their time and efforts to aiding their fellow Alabamians during emergencies.
Historically the Alabama State Defense Force has been a volunteer corps set aside to render aid during natural or man-made disasters. Alabama's volunteer militias and state guards have a long history beginning in the War of 1812 and the Creek Wars during Alabama's infancy as a territory.
Alabama gained statehood in 1819 and in 1821 provided for a statewide militia with the Governor as Commander-in-Chief. These early these early Alabamians included the likes of Monroe County native William Travis, who went on to command the garrison at the Alamo.
These volunteers defended home and hearth in the Second Seminole War of 1836. they saw action in the Mexican American War and fought gallantly in the War Between the States. Whenever and where ever the call was issued Alabamians answered and gave their all.
While Serving under General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Gen Johnston's Army of Tennessee; the Alabama home front was left vulnerable . It is at this point in history that Alabama Governor Gil Shorter urged the formation of 50 man volunteer companies to ' be enrolled as part of the State Guard for home defense."
Union forces were posing a threat to Alabama's interior; prompting the Confederate Congress on February 17, 1864 to authorize service for men 17-50 years of age as State Reserves (serving only within the borders of Alabama). The Alabama State Reserves was mustered as the 1st and 2nd Regiments in Mobile, the 3rd Regiment in Selma, and the 4th Regiment in Montgomery County. They were pressed into service as manpower became scarce.
In 1940, Alabama Governor Frank Dixon organized a temporary Alabama State Guard following the federalization of the National Guard. In 1942, 25 companies with a strength of 90 officers and 1,372 enlisted went into service. They were called out to maintain order during labor disputes.
The modern Alabama State Defense Force is a continuation of the Southern spirit of standing for one's State, fellow citizens, and family traditions. A venue for those wanting to be proactive in serving their state in time of need. Their mission to augment Alabama in case of full or partial mobilization of the National Guard.
We as Alabamians know the dangers we face as in Alabama from floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and even man made disasters. We all know the tremendous toll this takes on our financial resources and our communities. Why any Governor or National Guard leader would choose to waste such a valuable asset makes no sense. Yet this is exactly what is happening in Alabama at this very moment.
On September 14, the Alabama National Guard placed the all volunteer ASDF on Stand Down. This ridiculous order flowed down the chain of command originating obviously in the office of Governor Robert Bentley. All training, recruiting, civic actions, and enlistment was ordered ceased until further notice. All ASDF actions and functions are to cease as of November 3 to include:
- Wearing of the uniform.
- Giving any impression that you represent the ASDF.
- Complete removal of personnel and equipment from Alabama Army National Guard armories.
These dedicated Alabamians who had to purchase their own uniforms and insignia were given the options of
- Remaining in limbo to see what, if anything happens.
- Resign and reapply at a later date.
- Retire and end service.
The blatant refusal to utilize such a valuable and free asset reeks of dereliction of duty. It has caused a hemorrhage of quality people with military experience. For such a cash strapped (as they claim to be) State of Alabama to turn away those willing to volunteer and go into devastated areas to render aid to their fellow Alabamians is mind boggling. This can only be seen as the Governor and the Adjutant General of the Alabama National Guard turning their backs on the people of Alabama. The citizens of this great state are encouraged to question this lack of principled leadership. Contact Governor Bentley and ask him why he's wasting assets that could be used when disaster strikes in your community.
The volunteers are ready, willing, and able to answer the call as they always have in Alabama. The Alabama Constitution and Alabama State Code authorize it's existence. Do they not respect the Constitution they are sworn to uphold and defend?