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A Day in the Life of a Air Force National Guard

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As a member of the Air Force National Guard, you are required to serve for one weekend a month and two weeks a year (usually held during the summer) -- pretty decent hours. However, you are also subject to possible activation by the governor or President in order to respond to disasters. Part-time patriots learn skills like airplane refueling, flight control and even combat flying. There are also jobs available in maintenance, personnel, logistics and engineering.

Paying Your Dues

To join the Guard, one must be at least 17-years-old and a citizen or legal alien. The first phase of training is standard boot camp fare and lasts for six weeks. The second phase consists of a technical school, which varies in length depending on the type of job available to you. Finally, you will be sent to your local base for some on-the-job training. Throughout all of the training phases, you will be paid. In addition, because of the hours, the National Guard is not the primary source of income for most members; you'll need to think about a second job.

Present and Future

The Air National Guard was founded on April 30th, 1908, just five years after the Wright brothers’ famous first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The first official aviation unit in the National Guard was the 1st Aero Company established in New York in 1915. In 1917, Congress appropriated over $13 million for the air service. After World War II, the 120 Fighter Squadron of Colorado became the Air National Guard unit. The Guard continues to serve vital support roles in disaster situations around the United States, and stands at the ready to be called into active duty in times of war.

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 Air National Guard is probably the way to go. The Guard has job fields of similar type to the Air Force (flight command, air control, administration, electronic and medical positions, even public relations) with less of a 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 re-enlistment bonuses to be had.

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 Air 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.

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.