The NavGuard are a subset of the Navigator's Guild, serving as bodyguards to navigators and, if required, enforcers of the Guild's bylaws and jurisdictional claims. In this sense, NavGuard occupy a unique niche as a military unit, blending the roles of drop marines and military police.
Every NavGuard carries an entrenching tool, a simplified service kit for his own auto-armor and it's weaponry, and a set of wrist restraints in addition to any field supplies relevant to the theater in which he serves (mess kit, rations, canteen, toiletries, etc.). Unlike most auto-armor formations, a NavGuard is always in dress uniform, and his auto-armor is adorned with the distinctive pale green, white, and gold livery of the Navigator's Guild. This gaudy display serves a purpose: the role of a NavGuard is to be seen with his Guild-assigned charge as a deterrent against potential aggressors. A navigator (with their knowledge of their employers' travels and unique skillet) is a valuable prize for kidnappers, and an enemy without a navigator is as good as marooned in whatever cube they are currently exploring. To this end, a NavGuard will meet any threat towards his charge with whatever force is necessary to stop the threat.
A typical NavGuard is armed with a submachine gun, .45 caliber semiautomatic service pistol, and combat knife; a special compartment within the auto-armor's belly hatch stows the NavGuard's extra weapons and magazines when he is piloting the auto-armor.
The NavGuard are known primarily for their heavy use of dieseltech auto-armor equipped with weapons geared towards repelling enemies in close quarters. A typical NavGuard's auto-armor fields a snub-nosed, bayonet-equipped BX-9 Automatic Scattergun loaded with a 10ft belt of birdshot rounds; Thousands of pellets and hundreds of shot cups in a wave will quickly bludgeon attackers to death in the tight confines of an airship or skystation without risking a breach in the lifting envelope. Belts with lead slug ammunition are available when a ground-based encounter with armored cavalry or other auto-armor pilots is expected. NavGuard auto armor carries at least three large smoke grenades packed with powerful lacrimating agents in case the pilot must extract the navigator from a dangerous situation. NavGuard auto-armor also comes equipped with a re-breather mask for the pilot and a short reserve of breathing mix for high-altitude operations; extended air tanks and parachutes are common additions if if the operator is working in a low-gravity environment (i.e. a commissure or inflection layer).
All NavGuard are accorded membership within the Navigator's Guild and receive a small degree of navigation training to fit within the professional membership standards of that organization. In addition, all NavGuard are given training in auto-armor operation and maintenance to support their work in the field. Heavy physical training makes NavGuard burly for both intimidation and auto-armor lifting capacity purposes.
All members of the NavGuard are drawn from the ranks of other armed forces, whether as loaned personnel from the military unit which will be employing a navigator (i.e. a skyforce airman employed to guard the navigator aboard his own home airship) or as veterans joining the Navigator's Guild as NavGuard after an honorable discharge. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and a systematic review of their combat experience, whereupon only those rated within the top 10% of the applicant pool (based on a secret rubric established by veteran NavGuard) are accepted into the NavGuard program.
While the Navigator's Guild is politically neutral, they realize that not all NavGuard are. Therefore, when a NavGuard is assigned to a navigator in a time of war, they will usually be assigned one only from their own nation of origin (if available ideally, navigators and their NavGuard cohorts will be stationed on separate airships from the main fighting forces, moving away from combat once their fleets' destinations are reached in the same way that medical or diplomatic vessels might. If two or more NavGuard cannot keep from fighting one another over their national loyalties, then all offending parties will be removed from the program or reassigned to politically neutral assignments (i.e. commerce escort against pirates).