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Maine State Guard


By: David Deschesne

Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal, March 26, 2008, p. 2

While all States in the United States have a National Guard, many also have their own "State Guard."

The State Guard is a separate entity from the National Guard and is to be used strictly within the borders of the State it is constituted in. The State Guard is used for emergency relief, disaster preparedness and defense of the State and was formed for use of the governor when the National Guard is called away in Federal service.

While the National Guard is a national government entity, on loan to the States and can be used by the national government to fight wars in far away places, the State Guards are prohibited by their own State’s statutes from exercising any war-making ability outside of the confines of their own State's borders.

In Maine, the Maine State Guard took over as the Governor's response force for Maine’s natural disaster assistance and civil disturbances in the absence of the mobilized National Guard for World War II, where they operated from Camp Keyes.1

The Maine State Guard is activated by the Governor as Commander in Chief and he may organize as components of the state military forces an adequate number of Army and Navy units for the length of time which he directs. Those components consist of the militia, the naval militia and the Maine State Guard.2

When activated, the Maine State Guard is composed of people enlisted, appointed or commissioned from the militia and other able-bodied citizens of the State and such other able-bodied soldiers and sailors who have previously served honorably in the United States Armed Services or the National Guard. A person may not become a member of the Maine State Guard, if he is a member of the National Guard or any component of the United States Armed Forces, active or reserve.3

The Maine Militia consists of all able-bodied Maine citizens, or able-bodied people who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, who are at least 18 years of age and not more than 45 years of age.4

The Governor, acting by and through the Adjutant General, appoints officers for such units and organizations of the Maine State Guard as he may establish in conformance with applicable federal regulations, and these officers shall, subject to removal by the Commander in Chief, exercise the same military authority over their several commands as officers of the National Guard.5

Like most other state guard units, the Maine State Guard or any part thereof, may not be called, ordered or in any manner drafted as a unit into the military service of the United States.6

Currently, the Maine State Guard has no officer staff and is not officially manned or equipped. It only exists "on paper," but stands ready as a tool the governor may use in the event extra hands are needed during an emergency or disaster when the National Guard troops have been pressed into national service in distant wars.


Utilizing their State Guards, governors can alleviate the need for calling in federal or foreign troops for assistance and keep the command and troop strength of their respective emergency response teams strictly local in nature.




2. MRS 37-B §221

3. MRS 37-B §224 (1)

4. MRS 37-B §222

5. MRS 37-B §224 (3)

6. MRS 37-B §224 (7)