Florida State Guard Demonstrates Increased Statewide Capability to Serve Floridians This Coming Hurricane Season

Florida State Guard Completes First Annual Training, Showcases Expanded Capabilities

Florida State Guard Demonstrates Increased Statewide Capability to Serve Floridians This Coming Hurricane Season
Florida State Guard Demonstrates Increased Statewide Capability to Serve Floridians This Coming Hurricane Season

The Florida State Guard (FSG) wrapped up its first major training exercise since being reactivated by Governor DeSantis in June 2022. Over 300 Soldiers participated in a 14-day simulation designed to test their emergency response skills in a multi-county area hit by a catastrophic hurricane.

Significant Growth in Less Than a Year

“Compared to last year, we have demonstrated significant growth in capability and capacity.  In less than eight months we recruited and graduated over 200 new Soldiers, conducted three advanced training periods, expanded our partnerships with state and local agencies, developed four cross-functional units, and procured high demand assets to best support current and future mission sets,” said FSG Executive Director Mark Thieme. “To meet the needs of Floridians, we will continue to accelerate training and achieve major milestones.  This annual capstone exercise tested our ability to sustain concurrent operations across multiple counties, synchronize with external partners, and confirmed our preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season.”   

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This capstone exercise focused on the FSG’s ability to manage large-scale operations across multiple counties, collaborate with external partners, and ensure readiness for the upcoming hurricane season.

Testing New Units: Land, Air, and Sea

  • The Crisis Response Battalion (CRB), the FSG’s largest unit, practiced setting up distribution points for critical supplies, managing logistics, and providing humanitarian aid. They worked alongside the Aviation Response Squadron (ARS) and the Maritime Response Squadron (MRS).
  • The ARS used aircraft to assess damage, conduct search and rescue, and extend emergency response capabilities with mobile command vehicles and drones.
  • The MRS partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to practice inland and near-shore water operations, including basic boat handling, search and rescue, and waterway scouting.

“As we enter what is predicted to be a busy hurricane season, FWC is committed to working collaboratively with our partner agencies to provide solution-oriented support. Training for natural disasters and being prepared for deployment at a moment’s notice is paramount. We’re honored to partner with agencies like the Florida State Guard to ensure that Floridians receive the swiftest and timeliest response possible,” said FWC Executive Director Roger Young.   

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Sharpening Skills for Peak Season

The Special Missions Unit (SMU) is conducting additional training in July and August to refine their search and rescue skills, medical evacuation procedures, and water survival techniques. These exercises ensure the SMU is prepared for its critical role during peak hurricane season.

Become Part of the Team

The FSG is actively recruiting for its upcoming Initial Entry Training in August. Floridians interested in serving their communities can apply at www.floridastateguard.org/forged. The FSG is especially seeking individuals with expertise in aviation, maritime operations, technology, data analysis, and medical care.

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