Questions & Answers about the Tennessee State Guard

Question: What is the Tennessee State Guard?
Answer: The Tennessee State Guard is a branch of the Military Department of Tennessee and is responsible to the Governor of Tennessee and the orders of the Tennessee Adjutant General. The Tennessee State Guard supports the Tennessee National Guard and other branches of the military as requested in the same manner that the National Guard supports the United States Army.

Question: What is the mission of the Tennessee State Guard?
Answer: Because National Guard units are affiliated with regular military forces, a call up by the President of any or all National Guard components would leave the governor with no military force at his disposal for homeland security or emergency response needs. The primary mission of the Tennessee State Guard is to respond to national or state emergencies as requested by the governor to protect the lives and property of citizens during disasters and to assist the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency as necessary during post-disaster recovery. (see Mission)

Question: Who can join the Tennessee State Guard?
Answer: If an applicant can meet the following requirements, the chances are good that he or she will qualify for service in the Tennessee State Guard:

  • U.S. citizen and legal resident of the state of Tennessee (proof is required)
  • Age 17 to 67
  • High school diploma or GED (proof is required)
  • Prior military service (copy of DD214 is required) OR special civilian skills
  • Ability to pass a background check

Persons not eligible for membership are:

  • Prior conviction of a felony, domestic violence, and/or five or more arrests
  • Members of active duty or reserve components of U.S. military forces
  • Anyone not able to fulfill the requirements listed above

Question: What obligation in time would I be expected to give?
Answer: There is no formal time obligation; only the expectation that upon taking the entrance oath into the Tennessee State Guard, that you participate and perform according to that oath. There is an expectation of attendance at 75% of monthly training drills and to attend a 2-day annual training session once per year. Proper wear of the military uniform while attending monthly drills and all rules of military courtesy to be observed. Absence from 3 consecutive drills, 2 drills and AT, or formal resignation will result in discharge.

Question: Will I be paid for my time and out of pocket expenses?
Answer: The Tennessee State Guard is a non-paid military force. Remuneration would occur only if you are called to active duty by the governor for an extended period of time. Expenses would only be reimbursable if prior approval is given by your regiment commander or Tennessee State Guard commander. Some expenses may be deductible for income tax purposes (consult your tax advisor).

Question: What uniform will I wear?
Answer: Then Tennessee State Guard uses the US Army model of a Light Infantry Division at cadre strength. Using Army and National Guard regulations as a guide, members wear standard army "woodland" camouflaged uniforms with distinctive state insignia and name tags designating you as a member of the Tennessee State Guard. (US Army Class A dress uniforms are optional for wear in more formal situations such as funeral honors or awards ceremonies. Special TNSG patches are also used with these uniforms.)

Question: Does the Tennessee State Guard furnish uniforms?
Answer: The 3rd Regiment has a limited ability to furnish a uniform set to members upon taking the entrance oath. Members are expected to return any uniform items issued to them upon discharge from the State Guard. Members are required to provide their own headgear and boots. Members typically purchase their own uniforms and equipment over time as needed for their own personal use.

Question: How will my rank be determined?
Answer: All inductees are evaluated based on prior military service, education, civilian occupation, commercial licenses, and other outside training.

Question: Am I required to pass a physical exam?
Answer: No physical exams are required. Individuals are expected however to be in reasonable health and have the ability to perform tasks or missions as needed. Individuals with a specific medical problem or handicap are evaluated on an individual basis and are utilized to the extent of their ability, welfare, and safety.

Question: What kind of training will I receive?

Answer: The Tennessee State Guard uses the US Army model for training with a corresponding Mission Essential Task List (METL). Training comes from a combination of self-study and active drill participation that is planned by the regiment and battalion operations staffs. Drill training during any given month may come from a combination of sources including the Emergency Management Agency, National Guard, or regular military sources. Generally, there is no cost to the training other than transportation back and forth to drill.

Question: Considering the fact that I'm not going to be paid along with providing my own uniforms and equipment, why should I join the Tennessee State Guard?
Answer: For the same reason that other citizens join civic clubs or groups. Citizens contribute their time and talents to aid their local communities. The Tennessee State Guard is not a club. It is a military force that responds to community requests for homeland security, EMA response, and community service. The State Guard provides a public service for the people of Tennessee, and members train as soldiers to assist TEMA and local communities when needed. You will be serving with other people who are patriotic and have a knowing respect for military preparedness, and you will be carrying on a tradition of volunteerism that dates back to the creation of Tennessee as a state. Most challenging of all, you will have an opportunity to use the training you have acqired in military and civilian life to help build the cadre of the Tennessee State Guard.

Question: Will membership in the Tennessee State Guard prevent me being called to active military service in the event of a draft?
Answer: No. Your service in the Tennessee State Guard is a state function andwill not prevent you being called for federal service.


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