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A Day in the Life of a Army National Guard

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As a member of the Army National Guard, you will be required to serve for as little as one weekend a month and two weeks a year (usually during the summer). One major difference between the National Guard and the Army is that the work opportunities differ by state. A Guard member in Pennsylvania might have the chance to become an Aviation Operations Specialist whereas one from Nevada will not. But there are numerous work opportunities in all states in Civil and Public Affairs, Administration, Intelligence, Logistics, Combat Operations and Communications.

Paying Your Dues

You must be a U.S. Citizen or legal alien, and no younger than seventeen to apply. Basic training is standard for all recruits, and involves physical and mental training to improve military prowess, physical strength and stamina.

The National Guard is not just about military operations. The Guard gives flood, earthquake and other natural disaster aid to their region. Depending on what state you live in, there are many different ways to help the local population. If any foreign power every tries to invade the United States, the National Guard will be in the thick of it, defending their neighbors, friends and families against the aggressors.

Present and Future

The first example of a National Guard of any kind in the United States came in 1636, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony organized an armed force to defend against the Pequot Indians. Possibly the most famous action taken by National Guard forces was at the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg, when the commander of the 20th Maine Volunteer Militia, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, ordered a bayonet charge in the face of withering Confederate fire and saved the Union Line.

Quality of Life

PRESENT AND FUTURE

If you're looking for a way to serve your country but have a limited amount of time available, the National Guard is probably the way to go. The Guard has job fields of similar to those in the Army (vehicle command, heavy or medium artillery like mortars, administrative, electronic and medical positions, even public relations) with less time commitment. It’s a patriotic part-time job. Pay is generally good, but varies by state and is usually supplanted with another job. The Guard gives out money for college, and there are potential re-enlistment bonuses as well.

FIVE YEARS OUT

At this point in one’s Guard career, a commission might not be out of the question. One can become an officer in the National Guard by taking the Officer Candidate School Enlistment Option (OCSEO). You must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and have at least some college experience. You must also be a United States Citizen, and have no prior military experience. Training consists of one weekend a month and two 14-day periods a year.

TEN YEARS OUT

After ten years with the Guard, one will have gained valuable, confidence-boosting military experience, and will have gained access to more of the financial benefits the Guard offers, including retirement and medical benefits, and military air travel (as space is available). Some of these benefits are even exempt from federal taxes. The Guard responds to national emergencies as well as overseas military conflicts: a trained recruit might be called out to defend his state against the rising waters created by flash floods rather than the guns of an aggressive military force.