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EXCLUSIVE: Florida State Guard Director to Step Down Following Successful Graduation of First Class of State Guard Soldiers

Luis Soler will step down as Director of the Florida State Guard after successfully leading the first class of more than 100 Florida State Guard soldiers through a rigorous training program.

Luis Soler will step down as Director of the Florida State Guard after successfully leading the first class of more than 100 Florida State Guard soldiers through a rigorous training program. Soler previously served as the Deputy Director and Chief of Operations for the Florida State Guard before being appointed as Director. Soler is stepping down to attend to personal family obligations.

Jason Mahon, a spokesman for Governor Ron DeSantis said, “We thank Director Soler for his leadership standing up the newly reorganized Florida State Guard this past year and a half and are proud of the more than 120 state guardsmen that graduated from boot camp under his direction. We look forward to announcing new Florida State Guard leadership in the coming weeks.”

Governor Ron DeSantis reestablished the Florida State Guard in 2022, joining 22 other states that also have state-level defense forces. The Florida State Guard will augment the Florida National Guard during times of emergency.  

In June, the Florida State Guard had their first graduating class of soldiers since 1947.  The soldiers participated in a rigorous two-week training program that focused on building the skills and mental toughness necessary when responding to a disaster. Like all military organizations, the Florida State Guard maintains a high standard of excellence, fitness, and conduct. Given the high-quality training and expectations, it is standard that many applicants may not complete the training programs or be selected to permanent State Guard duty. The Florida State Guard seeks to ensure that qualified candidates are on the ready to protect Florida and its citizenry when duty calls.

Major General John Haas, the Adjutant General of Florida, said “The Florida State Guard members had to undergo rigorous and high quality training that simulates what these soldiers might have to endure  in the event of a major disaster. This level of training will contribute to a well-equipped State Guard that is ready to protect Florida when the Governor calls.”

Representative Tom Fabricio, who represents part of Miami-Dade, was one of the graduating soldiers who will now be ready to be deployed as part of the Florida State Guard during an emergency.When asked about his experience training for the Florida State Guard, Fabricio said “My experience with the Florida State Guard far exceeded my expectations. The training we received from the Florida Nation Guard cadre was excellent. We received training on land navigation, water rescue, respelling, driving an amphibious vehicle, first aid, CPR and stop the bleed, POD set up and management as well as leadership, military bearing and many other topics. We had excellent speakers on both FEMA topics as well as FDEM, regarding disaster management and response. The mission of the Florida State Guard is to augment the Florida National Guard, as well as other state agencies, in responding to state emergencies. For me, it’s an absolute honor to be able to serve the state of Florida in this capacity when fellow Floridians will need us the most.”

The Governor approved $108 million in the Framework for Freedom Budget to grow the Florida State Guard and make investments in equipment and training for up to 1,500 members who will aid in search and recovery, logistics, communications and other support functions necessary when responding to a state emergency.

“I am proud to welcome the first class of Florida State Guard members since 1947. Even though the federal government has underfunded our National Guard, we are ensuring that we have the manpower needed to respond during emergencies. I’m proud of these men and women who answered the call to take on this important mission.

When the need is greatest in their communities, these Guard members will be ready to answer the call,” said Governor DeSantis regarding the Florida State Guard graduation in June.

The Governor’s press release announcing the Florida State Guard graduation cites an understaffed Florida National Guard as reasoning for the state to augment their disaster response capabilities. The Florida National Guard has the second worst resident to guardsmen ratio out of 54 U.S. State and Territories. Florida’s National Guard has had 12,000 troops since 1958, while the population has grown from 5 million people to 22 million people.

If you are interested in applying for the Florida State Guard, you can visit: