California State Guard Capt. Micheal Vogler is an attorney in Long Beach, California, where he also serves as a member of the guard’s Legal Support Command. He and his wife, Ana Clara Alves Vogler, own a small law firm in town and are both attorneys, specializing in business law, family law, and immigration law.
As part of the state guard, Vogler serves as a judge advocate, which is a military attorney, and provides legal advice to his command while being charged with the administration of military justice. He serves in a support role to the California Army National Guard’s 224th Sustainment Brigade, where he is embedded with the Brigade Judge Advocate’s office. He values giving back to the community and works pro bono for the unit like most members of the California State Guard who serve as unpaid volunteers in the California Military Department.
“In addition to growing as an attorney, the education and training I have received through my military service has benefitted both my private practice and my role as a judge advocate,” said Vogler. “My military experience has improved my self-discipline, my time management, and my law knowledge.”
Vogler says that his civilian law experience has benefitted his ability to represent his military unit and individual service members. As he observes trends and tracks cases, he is able to assess how they may impact Soldiers. His expertise and ongoing legal practice in the civilian market serves as an asset to his unit and the state.
Vogler joined the guard three years ago because he values serving his local community and has always supported the military.
“The California State Guard was the right fit for me, and I wanted to do my part,” said Vogler. “Now as a service member, I serve our state and the country, which is something I’m proud of.”
His wife, Ana Clara, is also proud of her husband’s service. She agrees that the guard is a great way to serve the community and she is very supportive.
Vogler serves under the direction of U.S. Army Maj. Thomas Neumann and functions as a deputy judge advocate for the brigade. Vogler says he has typical assignments for a brigade, which include ensuring that all disciplinary actions follow legal processes, regulation reviews, memorandum reviews, tracking cases, and helping individual Soldiers. Vogler’s work at the brigade frees up Neumann so that he can be more available to the brigade commander during the COVID-19 humanitarian response mission.
Sometimes there is an overlap between Vogler’s military role as a judge advocate and his civilian role. If a Solder at the unit has questions about a family law matter or another legal question, Volger is able to provide guidance to the troop. He can assist Soldiers when litigation may be required and move for a stay of proceedings if it is warranted.
One of the most satisfying parts of his role is representing soldiers, especially when it comes to help with mortgages.
“They are so appreciative and thankful,” said Vogler. “I have helped Soldiers obtain mortgage relief, so they can carry out their mission without worrying about where their family is going to live back home. It provides them with peace of mind so that they can focus on what they have to do.”
During his time as a judge advocate, Vogler has helped officers and enlisted service members at the 224th. He says he is honored that the State Guard Legal Support Command enables him to embed at the brigade.
As a member of the state guard, he serves as a drill status guardsman one weekend each month, yet he often works for an additional day or two during the week when approved by orders.
Known for his military connection, he is also sought out by the courts when litigation involves a service member. He sits on the Orange County Bar Association’s Military and Veteran’s Committee and the National Guard Association of California’s Executive Committee.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vogler was placed on a state active duty assignment.
“With an influx of soldiers during the COVID-19 pandemic comes an increased workload,” said Vogler. “The kinetic energy has required more legal review, and things change minute-to-minute. It is a tremendous responsibility.”
He says he is honored to do the work and is thankful for the faith and support that he receives from Neumann and Col. Dennis Keener, the brigade’s commander. He is also grateful to California State Guard Col. Scott Belden, the Legal Support Command commander, who authorized his state active duty orders to come on the mission. Vogler is currently working six days a week without pay, serving the state and the brigade.
To Vogler, his work is very meaningful. He values being able to represent service members and support the military.
“Being part of this organization has enabled me to see the needs of both service members and veterans with a greater clarity and understanding, which makes me a better lawyer and better able to serve service members within the state of California,” said Vogler.
This article was written by Captain Jason Sanchez of the California National Guard.