Story By 2nd Lt. Ashley Goodwin
Michigan National Guard
LANSING, Mich.— The Michigan National Guard will appoint its first Military Judge, Lt. Col. Jason Evans, Command Judge Advocate, 272nd Regional Support Group, Michigan Army National Guard. As a military judge, Evans will be ensuring good order and discipline of Michigan National Guard members under the Michigan Code of Military Justice, as well as serving as board president and legal advisor for numerous boards. Evans served 12 years as a Judge Advocate General before attending the Military Judge Course at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia in June. This three-week intensive course is an invitation-only, multi-service training including active duty, reserve, and National Guard judge candidates from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, that is required to become certified by The Judge Advocate General of the United States Army (TJAG). “I spoke with Col. John Wojcik, who is the State Staff Judge Advocate, previously about my interest in this,” said Evans. “He had also reached out to me when the National Guard Bureau indicated that they wanted to start a judges program within the National Guard. The goal is for every state to have a military judge.” The Military Judge Course is offered yearly. “Up until the last cycle they hadn't certified any of the National Guard attendees as judges,” said Evans. “During the last cycle there were two service members who were certified, and, in my class, there were four of us certified as military judges.” The course was offered this cycle in a hybrid model due to COVID-19. Attendees were quarantined for the first two weeks and instruction was conducted through virtual meetings. Attendees were tested and in the third week, they moved into the schoolhouse. “I didn't quite understand how challenging the course was going to be at the time, but it was worth it as the first step toward my long-term goal of becoming a judge and contributing to the success of the Michigan National Guard,” said Evans. “The military justice system exists to promote justice and for the good order and discipline of the force; by having a strong system in place, it provides another tool to commanders to enforce standards that will make the organization stronger.” Evans is not only being appointed as the first Military Judge in the Michigan National Guard, but he is also being charged with creating the court system and procedures guardsmen will follow when utilizing the legal system. This task is a challenge and opportunity that Evans is excited for. While Evans has his plate full with creating a new Military Justice System in Michigan, he has a strong military community to lean on. “In addition to having the opportunity to serve my country we also have this community that you get when you join the military. For me, it's been the camaraderie and fellowship that has helped me get through the tough times. It’s kept me in the service,” said Evans. “It’s a special and unique part about being in the military.” He is also he is supported at home by his wife, Tiffany, and three children, Hannah, Isaac, and Naomi. “The advantage of being in the National Guard as opposed to active duty is the fact that you can stay in the same place," said Evans. "The more we can do together as a family and go places together as a family the better it is for us. The kids are excited about it, they've got a sense of pride in serving and being in a military family. Military families really support each other and are there for each other.” Evans has served as a Judge Advocate General in the 46th Military Police Command, 63rd Troop Command, and the 272nd Regional Support Group. He will now be attached to Joint Forces Headquarters in Lansing.