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Today is August 13, 2022

The Mississippi State Guard

Mississippians serving Mississippians

By 2nd Lt. Andrew Bryson

The Mississippi State Guard

What is a volunteer? A volunteer is a person who donates their money, time, and resources to a project or organization. The Mississippi State Guard (MSSG) is a little-known branch of the Mississippi Military Department. The group is an all-volunteer force, only paid if called to state active duty. It falls under the Mississippi National Guard and its purpose is to augment the state’s national guard in time of need and or to take over the mission of the national guard should they be called to federal service.

Should the MSSG be activated, it falls under the 66th National Guard Troop Command, but as it is not a federal organization, any overseas deployment is unlikely. There is also no contractual requirement to join and its members can resign at any time, and the MSSG operates like a brotherhood. However, it should be noted that if deployed (deployments consist of state or national emergency home side), its soldiers then fall under Mississippi Code of Military Justice rules.

There are three brigades divided based on their location for convenience — one each in north, central and south Mississippi.

The MSSG is always looking for prior military, current, or prior law enforcement (as many of the units are military police), medical and clerical professionals. There is a place for everyone, and you do not have to be prior military or be a first responder to find a place with the MSSG. Recruits with no prior military training will go through Initial Entry Training which lasts about 4 months and is completed during monthly drills.

Age requirements are 18 to 65 and you must be able to pass a background investigation. The units drill one weekend a month and one week per year at different military facilities in the state. The 3rd for example trains at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg. The troops sleep in barracks and eat at an assigned dining facility and kitchen.

Its officers and staff train the troops to meet any mission that may arise, and it is often said “we train for possibilities, not probabilities.” To produce well-rounded troops, the State Guard trains constantly. At a recent drill for the State Guard’s 3rd Brigade, troops trained on the M9 on the range simulator and conducted HUMVEE rollover training. Previous trainings have included topics such as search and rescue, FEMA certification, land navigation, military police work (since the primary job for the Mississippi State Guard is military police), and CPR certification. State Guard members are professional and serious about what they are doing.

In these troubled times, the state guard may be more important than any time in its history and they are looking for volunteer soldiers who want to serve their state and country. If you are looking for a way to get more involved in your community, the Mississippi Guard could be a great way to do it.


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2nd Lt. Andrew Bryson is a member of the Mississippi State Guard.

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