Charlie Crist speaks with National Guard Chief on Florida troops in Europe, funding priorities

charlie crist edit
Florida National Guard troops are currently safe in Germany after being stationed in Ukraine.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist spoke with Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Daniel Hokanson this week to discuss the status of Florida National Guard troops stationed in Europe, as well as the National Guard’s funding priorities for Fiscal Year 2023.

Joining Crist as co-leads on the call to Hokanson were U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Mike Waltz, as well as Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. Crist said in a statement that Hokanson confirmed Florida National Guard troops are currently safe in Germany after being stationed in Ukraine. The troops withdrew from Ukraine last Saturday.

“As a Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I was pleased to speak with General Hokanson regarding Florida’s National Guard troops, some of whom, including those from Pinellas Park right here in my district, were stationed in Ukraine this fall and now are thankfully out of harm’s way in Germany,” Crist said in a statement.

The roughly 150 Guardsmen arrived in Ukraine late last year as part of a training mission. They — members of the 53rd Infantry Brigade in Pinellas Park — were the sole U.S. troops stationed inside the Eastern European nation as of last Saturday.

As head of the NGB, Hokanson oversees personnel decisions for each state’s National Guard, including allocating personnel and resources to the states and ensuring Guard members are trained, equipped, and ready to carry out their missions.

On Tuesday, Crist also led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to General Hokanson, expressing concern over the current resource imbalance for the Florida National Guard (FLNG) and urging the National Guard Bureau to provide additional personnel and resources so that FLNG has what they need to keep Florida safe and secure. Despite being the third most populous state and experiencing the third most damage from natural disasters per household, Florida ranks 53 out of 54 states and territories in Guard personnel per capita.

“We further discussed the vital role that the National Guard plays in the Sunshine State, especially during hurricane season. While the Florida Guard is invaluable, they simply do not have the numbers and resources to fully protect our communities when disaster strikes,” Crist said in a statement. “I remain committed to strengthening the Florida National Guard and working to provide the funding they need to keep our state safe.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Tom

    February 19, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Camillion want a be, middle of the roadie, toadie. Crispy critter crisp really is out of line here. Biden recalled the Nat guard. Dems don’t want to expand Nat guard, even tough 23 states have their own guard.

    Crisp loses to America’s Gov by 53% to 47%, N Fraud loses 54% to 46%. Get ready and weep!

  • Old Veteran

    February 19, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Military personnel are apolitical in their actions.. It was inappropriate for the General to have such a conversation with politicians whose only interest is their political advancement. They played the General. He should be ashamed…and relieved.

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