The Florida National Guard has had an incredibly busy and successful year, with highlights that include:
- Approximately 550 Florida Army National Guard Soldiers deployed during 2019, including elements of Special Forces, Air Defense Artillery, and Communications.
- Additionally, nearly 400 Florida Air National Guard Airmen deployed during 2019, including maintainers, fighter pilots and individual augmentees.
Hurricane Dorian Response
- More than 4,500 Soldiers and Airmen were mobilized and positioned across the state to provide a host of missions to support citizens, including search and rescue, communications support, logistics and distribution, liaison in emergency operations centers, rotary wing and shelter support operations.
Leadership Changes – The FLNG welcomed numerous new leaders, including:
- Commander in Chief (Gov. Ron DeSantis) in January
- Adjutant General (Maj. Gen. Jim Eifert) in April
- Senior Enlisted Leader (CSM David Lanham) in May
- Assistant Adjutant General – Army (Brig. Gen. John Haas) in July
- Assistant Adjutant General – Air (Col. Mike Valle) in September
- Director of Joint Staff (Col. Robert Carrutheres) in October
- In June, Florida Army National Guard Soldiers supported Tradewinds, a multinational exercise with Caribbean partner nations which enhances the region’s collective ability to counter transnational organized crime and conduct humanitarian/disaster relief operations.
- In July, the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing received a noteworthy “fully mission capable” rating on their Alert Force inspection, administered by the North American Aerospace Defense Command – Inspector General.
- In August, the Florida Army National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team performed exceptionally throughout the eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, which was aimed at certifying the brigade’s readiness for overseas deployment operations.
- Thus far in 2019, the Florida National Guard has supported more than 111 community support requests from throughout the state, including flyovers, static displays, Color Guards, keynote speakers and more.
- In June, the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy (FLYCA) graduated 144 cadets from Class 36, and the following month welcomed Class 37, which will graduate in November. FLYCA is a community-based program that leads, trains and mentors at-risk youth so they can become productive citizens. Since its inception in 2001, FLYCA has graduated more than 4,500 cadets from 62 of Florida’s 67 counties.
- In March, the Florida National Guard’s Environmental Protection Office was awarded the National Guard’s Environmental Stewardship Award, which recognizes the best overall environmental program out of all the 54 states and territories.
- In August, the Florida Army National Guard’s 211th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, located at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, received special recognition from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Defense for its outstanding work in facilitating the U.S. Army Emergency Operations Center training program throughout the previous year. In 2018, the Regiment conducted 42 resident and 21 remote training programs supporting 1,060 students from 127 installations, state National Guard or sister service organizations, and six local and state agencies, across 41 states and territories and seven countries.
- In October, the Florida National Guard Counterdrug Civil Operations Program received the 29th Annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award, which recognizes the best Drug Demand Reduction Program in the United States Department of Defense. This year, their efforts included educating 11,000 primary school-aged children on the dangers of drug and alcohol use and assisting with the collection of nearly 2,400 pounds of old or expired prescription drugs through community anti-drug awareness events.
“This has been a phenomenal year for the Florida National Guard, and I could not be prouder of the work our Guardsmen have done for this state and nation,” said Maj. Gen. James Eifert, the Adjutant General of Florida. “They are driven, focused on the mission, and grounded in a desire to be of service to others. Because of them, I am confident that the Florida National Guard will continue to grow, and will remain a right, ready and relevant organization in the future.”