Overview and Frequently Asked Questions
Q: WHAT IS THE WASHINGTON STATE GUARD?
A: The Washington State Guard is an all-volunteer, uniformed public service organization which serves under the command of the Governor as Commander-in-Chief and directed by the Adjutant General.
The Washington State Guard is a component of the authorized military forces of the State of Washington, and stands separate and apart from the National Guard. Unlike the National Guard, the Washington State Guard is to be used for service exclusively within the State of Washington. All WSG members take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America and the State of Washington, and to obey the orders of the Governor of the State of Washington and the officers appointed over them. Members serve for a period of not less than one year.
Q: WHO CAN JOIN THE WASHINGTON STATE GUARD?
A: Any United States citizen who is a resident of the State of Washington age 18 and older. Current members of the Active or Reserve Components of the United States Armed Forces and individuals who have been convicted of a felony or who have received a less than honorable discharge from the Armed Forces are excluded.
Q: WHAT OBLIGATION OF TIME WOULD I BE EXPECTED TO GIVE?
A: Members are required to attend a monthly drill (meeting). Drills are training sessions and are also used to coordinate activities. Drills usually last 8 hours and are held on Saturdays. Your particular assignment may require additional hours of work to organize your section or staff, complete necessary projects, or recruit. These additional hours may be done at home according to your own schedule and at your leisure.
Q: WILL I BE PAID FOR MY TIME AND OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES?
A: Generally, no. Members are paid only if the Governor calls you to State Active Duty. When that happens, members are considered State employees and are paid at the same rate of pay for their rank or grade as their regular Army or National Guard counterparts. Occasionally, missions may allow for per diem and reimbursed expenses. However, the only reimbursable expenses are those to which prior approval is given.
Q: AM I REQUIRED TO PASS A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION?
A: Applicants are required to submit a Report of Medical History on a standard form. You must be able to perform all assigned tasks without endangering yourself or others.
Q: WHAT OTHER OBLIGATIONS WOULD I HAVE?
A: You take an oath when you join, and you are expected to live up to that oath. When they are required, you are expected to attend your monthly drills. If for any reason you cannot attend a drill, you must call your commander or supervisor and explain the situation. Repeated unexcused absences are not acceptable and will result in discharge. You must wear the assigned uniform correctly, and otherwise conform to the personal and grooming standards according to established Army Regulations. You may only wear your uniform at drill or at other WSG functions. While in uniform, all rules of military courtesy must be observed.
Q: AM I ISSUED UNIFORMS OR EQUIPMENT?
A: Currently, all officers and enlisted personnel are required to purchase and maintain their own uniforms and accessories.
Q: HOW WILL MY RANK BE DETERMINED?
A: Applicants are interviewed, evaluated, and enlisted or appointed to an appropriate rank based on the availability of an authorized billet (job position) for the applicant within the unit, as well as on the basis of prior military service, education, civilian occupation, and other factors in accordance with established laws and regulations, and without regard to race, religion, sex, or national origin.
Q: ARE THESE "REAL" OFFICER AND ENLISTED RANKS?
A: According to Washington law, State Guard officer and enlisted personnel normally rank amongst themselves. However, when called to State Active Duty, State Guard soldiers rank equally among State Active Duty members of the National Guard. All appointments, commissions, warrants, and enlistments are subject to recognition by the Governor of the State of Washington through the Adjutant General. All WSG members may be called to State Active Duty, may be given the legal authority to command troops, and may participate in real-world missions when ordered to do so by the Governor through the Military Department of the State of Washington.
Q: CONSIDERING THAT I AM NOT PAID, PROVIDE MY OWN UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT, AND HAVE TO DO SOME ACTUAL WORK---WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE WASHINGTON STATE GUARD?
A: For the same reason that people join civic organizations, pay dues, and contribute their time and talent-- for the benefit of their community. While the Washington State Guard is not a civic club, it is a uniformed public service organization for the benefit of the people of the State of Washington and requires an obligation on the part of its members. Further, you will be carrying on the unique American tradition of volunteer militia service which dates back to 1636, before the creation of the United States. You will serve with other patriotic people who have a knowing respect for military preparedness. You will work with other WSG members to accomplish missions important to the safety and security of the people of the State of Washington. Lastly, but perhaps most challenging, you will have the opportunity to utilize the training you acquired in the military and in civilian life to develop, maintain, and build the cadre of the Washington State Guard as the officially recognized and sanctioned military force of the State of Washington. Simply stated, you are a patriot who lives what you believe.
Q: WHERE WILL I SERVE?
A: You may serve anywhere in the State. To best serve the needs of the people of the State of Washington, WSG members serve throughout the State often in their own communities.
Q: CAN I USE THE PX AND COMMISSARY?
A: Currently, there are no provisions for this.
Q: HOW DO I APPLY?
A: Please use the contact information provided on this website.
Q: WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
A: The following persons are eligible for enlistment or appointment:
- Applicants who are 18 years or older.
- Applicants who are a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of Washington. Applicants who were not born in the United States must show proof that they have made a legal declaration to become a United States citizen and must present a United States Department of Homeland Security, BCIS Form N-300, authenticated by a Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Local Office.
- Applicants who have a demonstrated understanding and proficiency in the English language.
- Applicants who are either a high school graduate or have passed the GED test.
- Applicants who are medically qualified.
Q: WHO IS INELIGIBLE?
A: The following persons are considered ineligible for enlistment or appointment:
- Convicted felons
- Persons adjudged as a youthful offender
- Persons on parole or probation
- Persons with prior military service who have an RE-4 re-enlistment code on their DD-214
- Persons with prior military service whose discharge is characterized as other than "Honorable"
- Persons adjudged as a security risk
- Conscientious objectors
- Persons not meeting acceptable height and weight standards
- Current members of any Active or Reserve Component of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Persons convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude
- Persons with significant medical disorders which could endanger themselves or others
- Persons with a medical disability which exceeds an RE-3 profile
- Persons required to register for Selective Service, but who have failed to do so