So im thinking about joining the National Guard

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So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Chase The hero » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:19 pm

Howdy, i have been a lurker here on ZS for a while and im thinking about joining the national guard. The main reason i want to enlist in it, is because i will be going to be heading off to college fairly soon (about a year or so), and my while i may get a scholarship or 2 (due to being an Eagle Scout etc...) I would rather not have to take a bunch of student loans or otherwise put myself in debt. I'm talking to a recruiter about it, and i am also trying to get as many opinions on this as i can (hence this thread). I just want to be sure of the path im taking before i commit myself for 6 years.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Kelvar » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:41 pm

You want opinions...on what? Whether you should join? Only you can answer that. I will say that if your only reason is to make college more affordable, maybe you should think hard about student loans. When you think about joining, do you think you'd feel some pride in serving your country? Is there a certain MOS you are considering? How would you feel about getting deployed to a combat zone?
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Chase The hero » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:12 pm

I want to serve my country, but joining the army/going to a combat zone is not very appealing to me. I love the USA for its principles and what it stands for and I feel that I would be better serving in the national guard than the army/navy/marines/air force. To be honest I am not very sure what to expect from the national guard other than the usual "you only have to practice once a month... yadda yadda yadda". I'm just looking for the thoughts of anyone who went through the program and what i should expect from it. I'm pretty dead set on joining and just seeking others experiences and thoughts.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Kelvar » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:01 pm

If you're talking about the Army National Guard, it is a part of the Army, your uniform shirt will say "U.S. Army", etc. In other words, members of the Guard are soldiers.

I guess 3 Doors Down can say it better than I:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqLnpfYMOBQ

So the Guard isn't "Army Lite". They go through the same basic training as any other soldier. You are correct in that normally being in the Guard means one weekend a month (it's called "drill") and two weeks in the summer for annual training. However, there are a lot of soldiers in the Guard who are in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.

I'm not trying to deter you at all. Joining the military was one of the best decisions I ever made. But soldiers in the Guard are real soldiers and sometimes their units are activated and they have to spend months, maybe years overseas. Of course, some National Guardsmen spend their entire enlistment without so much as getting activated to help hurricane victims. It all just depends. But the Guard offers great opportunities--there is a huge range of MOS's out there for the Guard, and some of them would surprise you.

Few people enlist wanting to go to a combat zone. But for a soldier, whether regular Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard, it is a real possibility. I'm not saying probability, just possibility.

Ask yourself how you would feel if you enlisted and your unit got deployed. It would suck, but it would also give you the chance to step up and really serve this great nation. Only you know how you might feel about that.

I would encourage anyone to join the Guard. Just make sure you know what it's all about.

And feel free to PM me if you'd like.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by HHaase » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:23 pm

I spent almost a full decade in the Guard myself, 1993 through 2003, with a year break in the middle. Mostly in the HQ company for an aviation brigade, a couple years in a field hospital. Fantastic experience for me, with its good and bad points in comparison to the regular Army. But a few things went awry career wise, and I didn't re-enlist. I still miss it a lot, but not enough to go back.

I had numerous activations for various disaster relief and other local disasters, I should probably go back an put the links into my signature when I did the long posts about the bigger ones. I never got deployed overseas, but after I got out my unit did go to Kuwait for a year. ALL the local units around here have been deployed at least once, some multiple times. Kuwait between the wars, Turkey, Kosovo/Bosnia, Iraq from 2003 onward, Afghanistan, Iceland. Military Police is a near guaranteed federal deployment, same with Infantry these days.

Some states are very well funded with top-end gear and great armories. Some, like New York...... my Deuce and a Half was marked "Kaiser 1965" on the manufacturers plate and it was still in the motor pool until at least 2005. My M16A1, in 2003, was an AR15 with an arsenal remanufacture job0. I shit you not on that one. We were not very well funded at all in NY.

Just be aware that career movement will be a lot slower in the Guard than being Active Duty for most people, for a lot of reasons that I won't get into here.

Like Kevlar, shoot me a PM if you've got any specific questions.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Sckitzo » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:31 pm

Ever consider any of the other Branches?

Look at the Air Guard for example, good benefits and if your wanting to stay inside the wire chances are you will. Only a handfull of jobs ever leave the base with the AF and almost all of them except for like 3 do so in an aircraft.

Just my input man, a lot of better qualified people on here to speak about the Army and NG.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by HHaase » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:34 pm

Sckitzo wrote:Ever consider any of the other Branches?

Look at the Air Guard for example, good benefits and if your wanting to stay inside the wire chances are you will. Only a handfull of jobs ever leave the base with the AF and almost all of them except for like 3 do so in an aircraft.

Just my input man, a lot of better qualified people on here to speak about the Army and NG.
Just be aware though that the Air Guard does get deployed a lot more often than the Army National Guard, particularly aircrew.

-Hans
"This does not mean, however, that we are unaware of the true meaning of the term 'security.'
To us, the term has broad meaning. It rests in the physical force embodied as it is in the ships and their base,
but also in intellectual factors among which Intelligence plays an outstanding role."
- Captain Ellis M. Zacaraias, USN

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Sckitzo » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:00 am

HHaase wrote:
Sckitzo wrote:Ever consider any of the other Branches?

Look at the Air Guard for example, good benefits and if your wanting to stay inside the wire chances are you will. Only a handfull of jobs ever leave the base with the AF and almost all of them except for like 3 do so in an aircraft.

Just my input man, a lot of better qualified people on here to speak about the Army and NG.
Just be aware though that the Air Guard does get deployed a lot more often than the Army National Guard, particularly aircrew.

-Hans
Do they?

I know as a whole the AF deploys a lot, but for shorter amounts of time. Aircrews in particular don't go over for very long. 3-4 months is the norm, 6-8 months for a few of the the "critical" jobs (Cops, EOD, ect) 12 months for Command Staff. I know our rotation is about 6home 6gone, but got lucky and might get 12home this time. But I am AD so not sure.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Creaux » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:33 am

If you want to serve and get help with college at the same time, don't pass by Americorp programs. City Year and Public Allies are both great experiences, as well as ~5000 tuition credit. I am applying for Public Allies programs currently.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by HHaase » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:58 am

Sckitzo wrote: Do they?

I know as a whole the AF deploys a lot, but for shorter amounts of time. Aircrews in particular don't go over for very long. 3-4 months is the norm, 6-8 months for a few of the the "critical" jobs (Cops, EOD, ect) 12 months for Command Staff. I know our rotation is about 6home 6gone, but got lucky and might get 12home this time. But I am AD so not sure.
Well, it does vary according to mission, I should have been more clear. And you're right, they tend to be shorter deployments than the Army sees, but repeat deployments are more common. The two SAR wings are almost constantly deployed, the local one sent its C-130's overseas about 5 years ago and have just been rotating crews through ever since. Airlift and refueling are also in huge demand still, particularly with the reduction in available aircraft that's still going on. Though most combat aircraft demands have gone way down it seems.

Either way though, being in a reserve component definitely runs a big chance of deployment these days regardless of what branch it is. I don't really forsee the demand on the Air Guard slacking off anytime soon either. Even if we have a massive drawdown overseas, there just aren't enough aircraft right now to fill the missions without a lot of assistance from the reserve components. And that problem is just going to get worse after the C-17 production line shuts down, and more C-5's are retired.

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"This does not mean, however, that we are unaware of the true meaning of the term 'security.'
To us, the term has broad meaning. It rests in the physical force embodied as it is in the ships and their base,
but also in intellectual factors among which Intelligence plays an outstanding role."
- Captain Ellis M. Zacaraias, USN

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Istvan56 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:58 am

I was in the "Nasty Guard" a long time ago, long enough that we wore O.D. Green fatigues, drove jeeps and our artillery was unarmored (i.e. open top) S.P. guns (M110's). We didn't go overseas and it showed as my unit was used as a dodge to avoid Vietnam service. Though the war was over for the US (1974 when I joined) many of the guys in my unit were part of that group of "draft dodgers." Back then the Regulars treated us like the dog poo we were, readiness, morale and equipment quality sucked. It's a lot better now though there still is an obvious distinction between part-time reservists and full time soldiers in training. One of my best friends is still in, he's off in Kuwait after finishing his second Iraq tour. So being in the N.G. will not stop you from being deployed into a hot spot.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by WolfBrother » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:35 am

Chase The hero wrote:I want to serve my country, but joining the army/going to a combat zone is not very appealing to me. I love the USA for its principles and what it stands for and I feel that I would be better serving in the national guard than the army/navy/marines/air force. To be honest I am not very sure what to expect from the national guard other than the usual "you only have to practice once a month... yadda yadda yadda". I'm just looking for the thoughts of anyone who went through the program and what i should expect from it. I'm pretty dead set on joining and just seeking others experiences and thoughts.
The National Guard and the Reserve units are included in all areas of planning and deployment now. It's not the National Guard of the 60's.

Now when you enlist in the NG you're writing the same check as Regular Army etc does.

That check is made payable to the People of the US and the amount lists "Up to and including my life".

I live in Austin, TX. The NG HQ is here. The local news regularly carries "This unit is leaving"/"This unit is coming back" stories.

You go in the NG - expect to be deployed AND given the locations of most deployments - expect to be part of the pointy part of the spear.

Good luck and God speed.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by WES » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:26 pm

WolfBrother wrote: The National Guard and the Reserve units are included in all areas of planning and deployment now. It's not the National Guard of the 60's.

Yeah, some specialties are almost completely filled from national guard units now... there's just a shortage of skills, and they don't have enough need for that many in the full time army... so they train up national guard units, leave them on the back burner, and yank them to full service as needed.

I've heard from some people that you have a greater chance of going to Iraq as a national guardsman, then as regular army, if you're in the right speciality.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by ais4122 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:04 pm

I served in the National Guard from 1982 to 1996, and the Guard is much more a part of the active army than it's ever been. I don't think your reasons for considering the Guard are really what a fellow Guardsman would want to hear in this time of war. Your looking for college money, not military service. Look elsewhere. :roll:
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Fried Gold » Tue May 12, 2009 6:57 pm

I actually just reenlisted in the NG after a 3 year separation. My unit was activated and we deployed to Iraq for a year. Then about about half of them returned from their 2nd deployment about 6 months ago.

The Guard has some very good benefits. They can pay for your school and the drill pay is pretty much a car payment. Also, the health insurance premiums went down a bunch in January. Now I'm paying once a month what I was shelling out every 2 weeks with my job.

If you're worried about deployment, I'm sorry, you're going to have to deal with it. But if you're worried about what your mission is during your deployment, then I highly suggest you research every MOS. Honestly there are MOS's out there that minimize the combat you see while still being a important role in accomplishing the mission. Take the ASVAB seriously and you can pick your MOS (http://www.studyguidezone.com/asvabtest.htm).

Don't let your recruiter push you around. Most (with exceptions) do not care about your military career, and they have their own agendas. You have to look out for #1 (BTW, you'll have to do that your entire military career).

NG has a lot to offer, just understand that it's not for nothing. Keep that mind and you should do fine.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by GunnBorn » Wed May 13, 2009 2:33 pm

Im researching enlistment into the Marines/Army or AF.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Sgtlucky1987 » Wed May 13, 2009 4:28 pm

National Guard soldier here....

If your enlisting in the guard to help with money while serving your country but the idea of being deployed to a combat zone doesn't sound appealing, wrong time to join the army.

If you just want to serve while being in the reserves, I would recommend going into the air force guard. Get a technical job that you apply to the real world while your still in the military and that you can apply to a career field when you get out.

Just my 2cents.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by BobtheBreaker » Thu May 14, 2009 3:40 am

If you dont like combat zones...you shouldn't flirt with anything that reports to the Department of Defense.

Join the Red Cross.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by mlbfanatic0317 » Sun May 24, 2009 3:10 pm

Chase The hero wrote:I want to serve my country, but joining the army/going to a combat zone is not very appealing to me. I love the USA for its principles and what it stands for and I feel that I would be better serving in the national guard than the army/navy/marines/air force. To be honest I am not very sure what to expect from the national guard other than the usual "you only have to practice once a month... yadda yadda yadda". I'm just looking for the thoughts of anyone who went through the program and what i should expect from it. I'm pretty dead set on joining and just seeking others experiences and thoughts.
If i was you, i wouldn't join the Army Nat. Guard....Being Active Duty Air Force, i'm kinda partial to my branch. I would suggest going Air Force National Guard, just for the fact that the AF doesn't deploy that often...Unless your security Forces. Since you dont like the idea of deploying. I would suggest steering clear of the SF AFSC. Talk to a recruiter for more info!
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by Psyko5616 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:03 am

I'm in a similar situation. I'm looking at Army vs National Guard vs Reserve and I've seen some useful information so far. I'm wondering if there are financial differences, and there must definitely be lifestyle differences. I found what seems to be a good site for a comparison of many branches, http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningt ... oosing.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , but it seems to lack details about National Guard and Reserve.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by tilt » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:47 am

If you are looking to perform service, want to go to school and are not in favor of deploying overseas, I would suggest the Texas State Guard. There address is here: http://www.txsg.state.tx.us/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It isn't going to be as easy as going traditional AD/NG/RES, but in Texas, many state schools waive tuition for TXSG members (kind of like a TX-only GI Bill). Your best bet would be to check out the school you're thinking about going to, find out if there is a program for the TXSG, if it is, good deal.

A little warning though, the TSG isn't like the regular military. The TXSG reports only to the Governor of TX, he's our CINC. You can NEVER be federalized, that's what they do to the National Guard. You'll be called upon to support plenty of disaster in Texas though, from hurricanes to floods to fires, the TXSG is there.
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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by broylz » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:16 am

i was in the missouri national guard from 99-05 and then active duty 06-present. i am a MP.

if you dont want to deploy, rethink enlisting. im not saying dont do it, just think about it. i joined to pay for college and to see the world a bit two weeks at a time. this was back in 1999. now after multiple deployments and going active duty, ive gotten to where i like it. would have stayed in the guard if i could redo it. i got to be a police officer at 17 instead of waiting until i was 21 for the city PD. got to go all over the world, literally.

its definately not for everyone. youll have a bit less stress if you are single and dont have kids.

at least there is job security for the near future.

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Re: So im thinking about joining the National Guard

Post by kiwilrdg » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:28 am

If you consider any type of military service you should plan on being in that part of the military first. You should plan on being called up, perhaps several times. It is what you are being enlisted for.

If you find a recruiter for a job that will tell you "we don't really expect you to do anything for us, we just want to pay you and give you stuff" would you believe him?

The educational opportunities are just icing on the cake.
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Post by NightHiker » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:16 pm

:words:
Last edited by NightHiker on Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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