Alabama State Defense Force

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Alabama State Defense Force
Coat of arms of the Alabama State Defense Force.svg
Active 1821[1] - January 8th, 2014 [2]
Country  United States
Allegiance  Alabama
Type SDFBranchInsigniaColor.jpg  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. Kay Ivey
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 it 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.

During the American Civil War, both Union units and Confederate units were raised in support of the war effort.

In the Spanish–American War, Alabama raised three volunteer infantry units.[3]

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.[4] 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."[5] 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.[4]

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.[6] In 2008, members delivered meals and water to Hurricane Gustav evacuees.[7] 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.[8][9] As recently as April 2013, the ASDF was still seeking applicants,[10] but as of November 2013, it was stood down.[11]

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.[12] In Southern Alabama, the U.S. National Reserve Corps was started with members from the ASDF, this national organization also consists of volunteers dedicated to service in disaster relief efforts and participated with the Red Cross in 2014 in damage assessment in Baldwin County.[13]

As of January 2019, over five years since the temporary suspension began, the state of Alabama has not yet finished its reorganization of the Alabama State Defense Force.


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. The ASDF has three operational Brigades.

Awards and decorations

The Alabama State Defense Force issues several ribbons to guardsmen who have merited them, including the following ribbons:[14]

  • ASDF War Ribbon.PNG ASDF Alabama War Ribbon
  • ASDF dist svc ribbon.PNG ASDF Distinguished Service Ribbon
  • ASDF meritorious svc ribbon.PNG ASDF Meritorious Service Ribbon
  • ASDF commendation ribbon.PNG ASDF Commendation Ribbon
  • Asdf achievement ribbon.PNG ASDF Achievement Ribbon (Officer)
  • ASDF achievement ribbon enlisted.PNG ASDF Achievement Ribbon (Enlisted)
  • IANG Medal of Merit.png ASDF Merit Ribbon
  • Kansas National Guard Service Medal 25yr.png ASDF Desert Shield/Storm Support Ribbon
  • ASDF Disaster Readiness Ribbon.PNG ASDF Disaster Readiness Ribbon
  • OK Distinguished Service Cross.png SGT Dixie Club-Gold Ribbon
  • SGT Dixie Club Silver Ribbon.PNG SGT Dixie Club-Silver Ribbon
  • NY Medal of Valor.PNG SGT Dixie Club-Bronze Ribbon
  • Kansas National Guard Service Medal 30yr.png ASDF Service Ribbon
  • ASDF Distinguished Graduate.PNG ASDF Distinguished Graduate Ribbon
  • CO Achievement Ribbon.jpg ASDF Professional Development Ribbon
  • ASDF Officer Training Ribbon.PNG ASDF Officer Training Ribbon
  • Alaska Territorial Guard Medal.PNG ASDF Warrant Officer Training Ribbon
  • ASDF NCO Training Ribbon.PNG ASDF NCO Training Ribbon
  • ASDF CERT ribbon.PNG ASDF C.E.R.T. Ribbon
  • ASDF Recruiting Ribbon.PNG ASDF Recruiting Ribbon
  • ASDF Super Recruiting Ribbon.PNG ASDF Super Recruiter Recruiting Ribbon
  • ASDF association ribbon.PNG ASDF Association Member Ribbon
  • SGAUS Ribbon.PNG ASDF SGAUS Ribbon
  • ASDF Outstanding Unit Ribbon.PNG ASDF Outstanding Unit Comm. Ribbon
  • SGAUS Superior Unit Citation.PNG SGAUS Superior Unit Citation
  • MEMS Academy Unit Citation.PNG MEMS Academy Unit Citation

See also


  1. ^ "History - 4th Brigade". 4th Brigade. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ Blevins, Jeremy. "The state of the Alabama State Defense Force". Jeremy Blevins. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Exec. Order No. 20 (December 22, 1983; in English) Governor of Alabama. Retrieved on September 28, 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Alabama SB278" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-03.
  9. ^ Brandon Moseley (August 16, 2012). "Bentley Signs State Defense Force Bill". Alabama Political Reporter. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  12. ^ "Who We Are". Alabama Volunteers Official Website. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  13. ^ "United States National Reserve Corps | United to Serve". Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  14. ^ Bush, Eric. "Alabama State Defense Force Awards & Ribbons". Retrieved 6 October 2013.

External links

  • The Alabama State Defense Force website archived at
  • The Alabama State Defense Force recruiting website archived at
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