FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the reestablishment of the Florida State Guard and introduced its new director.
Retired Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Graham was named last week by DeSantis to lead the guard.
“This is an unbelievable privilege to reestablish and build from the ground up a modern state defense force,” said Graham.
According to a statement from DeSantis’ office, the Florida State Guard will have 400 members to respond to a projected active hurricane season.
“In a natural disaster-prone state such as Florida with a potentially active hurricane season on the horizon, there is a clear and present need for a larger civilian emergency response force,” the statement said.
More than 1,200 individuals have reportedly expressed interest in joining, the governor’s office said.
“By reestablishing the Florida State Guard under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Graham, we have a great opportunity to expand our capability to help people in times of need or disaster,” said DeSantis.
According to the statement, Graham grew up in Miami and enlisted in the Marine Corps. at age 17. After enlistment, he graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. and was then commissioned in the Marines. Graham was then temporarily assigned to the Coalition and Special Warfare Division, Counter Drug Branch.
Graham graduated from flight school in Pensacola and served as a pilot for approximately two years, flying CASEVAC missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) 1.
He served as Joint Terminal Attack Controller in OIF-2 before being selected to serve as a founding member of the Marine Corps.’ full-time Antiterrorism Battalion where he was deployed as Task Force Commander to OIF-3.
Graham ultimately served as the Commanding Officer of 4th ANGLICO in West Palm Beach. He recently retired from the Marine Corps. Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel.
To learn more, go to flsg.myflorida.com.