Standing Guard

The Washington National Guard leads the way

By J.M. Simpson on October 28, 2011

Since 1855, the Washington National Guard's citizen-soldiers have answered the call of duty.

"We are one team, one fight," Brig. Gen. Bert Daugherty, commander, Washington Army National Guard (WANG), deputy director of the Washington Military Department and Assistant Adjutant General, said. 

"We meet all of the active duty Army's standards."

"The future of the Washington Air National Guard (WAANG) is bright; we have an emerging mission," Maj. Gen. Gary Magonigle, commander, said.

"We are important to the Air Force; we have a dual mission with applicability to the nation and the State of Washington."

Since 9/11, Washington National Guard units have served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle, Jump Start (Southwest Border Mission), the Hurricane Katrina Relief Mission, California wild fires, Hurricane Ike and Gustav on the Gulf Coast, and numerous missions in Washington State.

The Guard also operates a Counter-Drug Task Force, and State Partnership Program with the nation of Thailand and provides support to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration), Region 10.

Currently, the Guard is comprised of approximately 8,500 Soldiers and Airmen.  They come from all walks of life to continue to serve the state and nation.

The Washington National Guard responds when called by the Governor to augment local jurisdictions and other emergency responders during state, regional and national emergencies.

The President can call both the Air and National Guard to active duty.

"The Guard will grow; mission will grow; we will not remain as only the strategic reserve," Daugherty continued.

"We see ourselves getting more of a role across the spectrum,"

Since 9/11, over 12,000 Soldiers have been deployed.  Throughout it all, they have served both in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom while remaining prepared to respond state disasters.

While the federal missions have involved deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraqi, Soldiers and Airmen also train to save lives, protect property, maintain civil order in case of local emergencies.

The source of the Washington National Guard's strength is found in the variety of individuals who serve.

"The local area is rich in talent," Magonigle explained. 

While acknowledging that the Guard is rooted in the past while serving in the present, it also has its focus on the future.

In speaking about the WAANG's ability to wage cyber warfare, Magonigle said it has a "leading edge mission" which is unequaled anywhere in the world.

"It is also good to note that the Air Guard's mission is applicable to Homeland Security, and that the cyber unit's work supports both the federal and state missions.

As for its value, the WANG cost under 11 percent of the Army's 2010 budget which comprising 32 percent of the personnel and maintains nearly 40 percent of the nation's operating force.

The WAANG costs less than seven percent of the Air Force's 2010 budget, makes up 19 percent of the force's personnel and maintains between 30 to 40 percent of the Air Force's fighter, tanker and airlift capability.

"We see ourselves getting more of a role across the spectrum," Daugherty said.

"We are the Guard."

For those looking to join the Washington National Guard or want to continue serving, visit