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View Diary: Georgia Republican called on the National Guard to 'take a pass' on Boston Marathon duty (83 comments)

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  •  That, and (2+ / 0-)
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    dewtx, Cassandra Waites

    the National Guard's most common role, until recently, has been disaster relief. Even when deployed overseas, the vast majority of National Guard units are support units. IIRC, the entire National Guard, in all 50 states combined, has exactly one infantry battalion.

    •  Reserve and Guard (1+ / 0-)
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      Gentle Giant

      You're half right, let me help you out.  The part you are spot on is the traditional role of the Guard, which is response as a state asset to any emergencies that exceed the capabilities of local and state emergency services.  Hurricane relief and wild fire containment are both examples of traditional missions for.the Guard.  In fact the term for it is Defense Support to Civil Authority.  Just as the name implies, the lead are the civilian response agencies with the Guard as augmentation.  This is true of security missions as well as disaster response.
      The part you're mistaken about are the type of units in the National Guard, but this is understandable.  In addition to a National Guard, which in peace time is a state asset, there is also a Reserve, whose primary mission is to augment active duty forces.  Most of the Reserve units are support in nature, such as engineer, medical, and civil affairs units.  These units draw upon specialized skill sets the active duty military cannot afford full time, but cannot do without in war time.  National Guard units, in contrast, are largely combat units (infantry, armor, field artillery), manned by large numbers of soldiers.  This is because when the state needs them in an emergency, they need lots of them.
      However, to add to the confusion, both the National Guard and Reserves are collectively called the Reserve Component. This refers to the war time mission of both as as strategic, and more recently operational, reserve to the active military.

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