Portales receives its own State Guard unit

By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer

With the recent upgrade of the Clovis unit of the New Mexico State Guard from company status to battalion status, Portales will receive it’s own unit, Company A, which will report to Clovis as will Roswell’s Company B.

Right now, there are a handful of Portales troops in the newly formed company but Maj. Marvin Arnold, of the Clovis unit of the all-volunteer 3rd Battalion of the 2nd Brigade, said he is hoping the numbers will increase starting with this Saturday’s monthly training meeting.

“Basically, we’re trying to build up our membership, we’re looking for anybody that’s interested and that wants to join,” Brad Nance, Warrant Officer who will be in charge of the Portales company said.

Since the company is newly formed, Arnold said now would be a good opportunity for anyone in the Portales area to check them out and see what they have to offer.

He added that those with or without a military background are welcome.

“Ever since Sept. 11 there’s a lot of people out there that want to do something but they just don’t know what to do to volunteer,” Arnold said. “This is a good place for them to feel as if they are doing something,” Arnold said.

Although the State Guard and National Guard each report to the same Adjutant General of the state, they are not part of the same military branch. Arnold said sometimes people confuse the two, however there are a few distinct differences.

“Because they are funded by the federal government, the National Guard can be transferred from state status to national status, which has happened a lot,” Arnold said.

Funded by the state, the State Guard members are assigned to in-state duty except under special circumstances such as Hurricane Katrina where some of the troops who can, will volunteer their services.

As a unit of the State Defense Force and Military Division of the Department of Military Affairs of the State of New Mexico, the State Guard trains monthly to prepare for those types of situations and other emergency situations such as: Fires, tornados, floods, and first aid training.

Also, while the governor does have the authority to activate the unit, Arnold said it is seldom done.

“Another difference between the two units is we are an all volunteer unit so consequently we are made up of about two-thirds veterans,” Arnold said. “And all volunteer means we don’t get paid.”

The Portales company will continue to drill with Clovis’ unit at the Clovis National Guard Armory. This month’s meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Clovis armory. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to join at that time if they choose to do so.