National Guard FAQ
Q. What is my commitment?
A. Army National Guard members are required to attend one drill weekend each month and one annual training period each year. Weekend drills are usually scheduled over one weekend – a Saturday and Sunday each month, but can occasionally include reporting for duty on Friday night. In addition, units have a two week annual training (AT) period every year which is usually scheduled during the summer. Initially, all personnel are required to attend initial entry training (IET), which can usually be scheduled to meet civilian occupation scheduling requirements. Duration and location of IET varies according to career specialty – a recruiter can provide specific information for each Military Occupational Specialty.
Q. Can I serve full-time in the Guard?
A. Yes. The Guard has several types of full-time employees. Within each state there are full-time personnel who manage the day-to-day operations of the units in their state or territorial Guard. These soldiers serve in a status known as “Title 32,” which refers to the section of the US Code that they are governed by. In addition to their full-time positions, these soldiers serve with a unit in a traditional status (drilling on weekends) as well. These positions are managed by each state’s Military Personnel Office, part of the State Area Command (STARC). There is also a federal active duty force, which is centrally managed by the National Guard Bureau and the Army National Guard Directorate in Washington, DC. These soldiers serve in a “Title 10” status and are not required to drill with units. The core of the Title 10 force is stationed at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, VA, a few miles from the Pentagon. Additionally, there are Title 10 officers serving across the nation and worldwide as an interface between the Guard and other agencies.
Q. Do I have to go to Basic Training?
A. If you have never served in any branch of the military, you will have to attend the Army’s eight-week basic training. In addition, you will have to attend a period of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) which teaches your specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). The length of AIT varies widely with MOS. If you elect to serve in a new Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) you may have to qualify in that MOS through available schools.
Q. How long do I have to join for?
A. If you have never served in any branch of the military, you must enlist for at least eight years. Active National Guard (drill status) soldiers can serve for as little as three years, with longer periods available as well; IRR (non-drill status) enlistment options begin at two years. Some benefits are based upon the length of your initial enlistment. Veterans who have served in any branch of the military have additional options available to them including a “Try One” program which allows a veteran to serve for only one year on a trial basis before committing to a full enlistment. A recruiter can provide further details.
Q. How will my membership in the National Guard affect my civilian job?
A. Generally, membership in the Guard has a positive influence on civilian jobs. The skills and leadership you acquire are sought after by many employers. Some soldiers find their civilian and military jobs complement each other, while others seek to add diversity to their lives and skills by serving in a capacity quite different than their civilian occupation. Regardless, your membership within the Guard should not have a negative impact on your civilian employment. There are federal laws prevent employers from discriminating against an employee due to his or her membership in the National Guard. In addition, if you are called to active service, your employer is required by law to allow you to return to the same job you had when you left. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization has a web site located at http://www.esgr.org/ that can provide additional information.
Q. Once I join the Guard can I switch jobs or units?
A. Transfers within the National Guard are handled on a case-by-case basis within the units involved. Factors such as unit needs, individual skills, unit locations and career goals are considered. If you move more than 50 miles away from your unit you may transfer to a closer unit. If you move to another state or territory, you can transfer to the Guard of that location.
Q. What are the qualifications I must meet to join the National Guard?
A. The National Guard has physical, academic and legal qualifications. You must be in good health and have no major physical handicaps. The minimum age to join the National Guard is 17. Persons under age 18 must obtain the consent of a parent or legal guardian. You may join the National Guard up to age 35. You must be either currently in high school or have a high school diploma or GED. You must also obtain a minimum qualifying score on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery exam (ASVAB). Soon after you contact a recruiter, they will administer this test to see if you are qualified. Your ASVAB score will also determine which MOS’s you are qualified for. Additionally, you must have no major criminal convictions. Finally, you must take a tour of active duty training for at least thirteen weeks. This information is only a basic outline of the qualifications. Before enlisting you will be receive a detailed medical examination and background check. Your recruiter will provide you with more exact information and make recommendations regarding your qualification status.
Q. What jobs are available in the National Guard?
A. The Army National Guard offers a large selection of specialties (MOS’s) throughout a range of skills divided into three major categories: Combat (Infantry, Artillery, Armor, Aviation, Air Defense), Combat Support (Engineer, Chemical, Military Police, Signal, Military Intelligence, Civil Affairs) and Combat Service Support (Finance, Public Affairs, Personnel, Supply, Maintenance, Transportation). Different MOSs have different qualifications and your recruiter can help you determine which MOS would be best suited for you.
Q. What benefits are there in belonging to the National Guard?
A. The Guard offers a series of benefits ranging from competitive pay and education assistance to insurance and retirement benefits. A broad range of skills are learned through schools and job training, and leadership opportunities are numerous. Beyond these tangible benefits, most Guard members agree that the greatest benefit is the opportunity to serve their country, state and community.
Q. What type of opportunities exist for women interested in serving?
A. The majority of military occupation specialties (MOSs) are open to female soldiers, with exceptions in the combat arms fields. The Guard is a diverse force with an increasing proportion of female soldiers each year.
Q. Can I switch branches or specialties?
A. Yes, your experience may qualify you for an occupational specialty other than the one you held when you left active duty. You can also change your specialty by attending an active or reserve component service school.
Q. What benefits will I receive in the Guard?
A. Here are just a few of the benefits: civilian and military education benefits, promotion opportunities to include becoming a Warrant or Commissioned officer, good pay, Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance, free space-available air travel, retirement benefits at age 60 (after 20 years of combined active and reserve service), some medical and dental benefits and insurance programs, exchange and commissary privileges.
Q. What will my pay be?
A. For each Guard training assembly you attend (usually 4 per weekend), you will receive a full day’s pay for your grade and number of years service (active and reserve time). You can visit the Defense Finance Service web site for the specific amount for your pay grade.
Q. Why does the Guard want veterans?
A. Your local Guard unit needs your recent experience with advanced military equipment, weapons and tactics. Your leadership skills are in demand too. You can help train other citizen-soldiers and share with them the strength and maturity you’ve gained in active service.
Q. Why should I continue my military service with the Guard?
A. Thousands of veterans from all branches of service join the Guard each year and find that it gives them the best of both military and civilian life. In the Guard you keep many of the benefits you received in active service, including your service counting toward pay and retirements criteria. You can improve technical and leadership skills you’ve already acquired. And because the Guard is part-time, you can hold a civilian job or go to school. You also get the chance to serve your state, nation and community while staying close to home.
Q. Is there a web site to enroll family dental care plan?
A. Yes. You can find out more here.
Q. What are the Enlisted Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) and Officer Branch requirements?
A. Pending authorizations dictate which MOSs and Branches in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program are being offered at a particular time. You will need to call our recruiting representatives at 1-800-GO-GUARD begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-GO-GUARD end_of_the_skype_highlighting (1-800-464-8273 ) for the current MOSs and Branches and their qualification criteria.
Q. What forms/documents are required?
A. This information along with the order they should be placed in can be found in the link Application Documents. The job announcement also lists required documentation.
Q. What happens after I submit my application packet?
A. The National Guard Bureau Missile Defense office will conduct an initial review of your packet for completeness. If any deficiencies are found and if time allows before panel selection procedures, a representative from our office will call or write you a letter explaining the deficiency and what needs to be done to correct it. If the deficiency is not corrected before the panel proceedings, your application packet will be returned to you along with a letter explaining why it was returned. Accepted packets will then be forwarded to an Eligibility Review Panel (ERP). The ERP will review application packets to ensure soldiers are able to come on AGR status. Packets disqualified will be sent back to the soldier along with a letter explaining the disqualification. Various disqualification factors can be failing a physical, not meeting time in service criteria, not being able to meet the eligibility criteria of a MOS/Branch qualification criteria, etc. Qualified application packets will then be sent to a Suitability Review Panel (SRP). The SRP will select the soldiers for each position. An Order of Merit List (OML) will be created for each position that will rank soldiers in the order they scored during the SRP. The SRP recommendations and OML will be forwarded to The Adjutant General (TAG) where each AGR position resides. Upon TAG approval, the respective state AGR office will notify the soldiers who received the highest score for each position that they have been selected. If a soldier refuses or is unable to accept the position the soldier with the next highest score on the OML for will be notified. The OML will be used until each position is filled. Once all positions are filled the OML will become void. There will be new OMLs created for each hiring period conducted. Soldiers not selected will be notified by the respective state that they were not selected. Applicants will have the option to request that their packets be considered for the next hiring period or have them returned. It is up to the applicant to submit updated documents to applications packets on file. Application packets will held no longer then 1-year from original submission. A new application packet will have to be submitted for further consideration. Fast Fact Four of the first five U.S. Army divisions to enter offensive operations during WWII were Guard divisions.
Q. What regulations govern the hiring of AGR soldiers?
A. AR 135-18, NGR 600-10 (Title 10) and NGR 600-5 (Title 32) govern the hiring of AGR soldiers.
Q. Where can I take a Chapter 2 or 3 physical?
A. Chapter 3 physicals must be taken at an active military medical facility, ARNG or USAR medical unit, or through the Federal Strategic Alliance (FEDS_HEAL) Program. Army National Guard soldiers will need to coordinate Chapter 3 physicals through their unit. Army soldiers will receive a Chapter 3 physical upon ETS. The Chapter 2 is done at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or authorized Military Installation. This is the same physical that you took when you first entered military service. You must coordinate the scheduling of these physicals with a local Army National Guard recruiter. For assistance you can also call one of our recruiting specialists at 1-800-GO-GUARD (1-800-464-8273 ).
Q. Who can apply for these positions?
A. All current and former military members from all branches of service can apply. This includes soldiers currently in an AGR status. Soldiers who are on an active duty status in the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force will have to be able to ETS and have the ability to report for scheduled training and/or duty. If the soldier is selected and it is determined that that these conditions can not be met, the soldier will be removed from all current Order of Merit Lists. The soldier we have to reapply for future announcements. The Army National Guard does not have the authority to release you from your active duty obligation. We are not accepting applications from Non Prior Service members.
Q. Who can I call for information?
A. You can call our recruiting representatives at 1-800-GO-GUARD (1-800-464-8273 ).
Q. Why is there an option to submit either a Chapter 2 or Chapter 3 physical?
A. Chapter 3 physicals taken with the last 24 months are authorized for current Army National soldiers, Army soldiers who are enlisting into the Army National Guard upon ETS through their Reserve Component Career Counselors (RCCC), and prior service soldiers with a remaining Military Service Obligation (MSO). Prior service soldiers without an MSO can submit a Chapter 3 physical taken within the last 6 months. Chapter 2 physicals taken with the last 24 months can be used in lieu of the Chapter 3 physical. All other applicants are required to have a Chapter 2 physical. This includes prior service Army soldiers with expired Chapter 3 physicals. Please review the job announcement and application document list for additional medical criteria pertaining to these physicals.
Q. Why was my application packet returned to me?
A. All returned application packets will have a letter explaining why it was returned. Packets will be sent back because they are incomplete, the soldier applying was disqualified, or the individual was not selected for an AGR position.
Q. Will I be able to receive an Active Duty Retirement?
A. Soldiers in the AGR Title 32 program are authorized to receive retirement pay after 20 years of active duty service. Your amount of retirement pay will depend upon when you first enlisted into the military.
Q. Will I be allowed to move household goods and my car(s)?
A. Yes. There are weight limits that are based upon rank and there is a limit on the amount of cars you are allowed to ship or drive. Please refer to AR 55-71, Transportation of Personal Property and Related Services, or your local military transportation office for additional guidance.
Q. Will my family and pets be allowed to move with me?
A. Yes. Guidance on this can be found in Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR).
Q. Will my family receive the same entitlements and benefits and as other Active Duty soldiers?
A. Yes. Your family will receive the same benefits as all active duty soldiers such as healthcare (TRICARE), dental (Delta Dental), Commissary and PX privileges, and Active Duty dependant Identification cards.
Q. Can DSTATS use our currently fielded communications equipment?
A. DSTATS communicates with all U.S. Army fielded old and new series tactical radios and wire equipment. Further, DSTATS will communicate over commercial telephones and satellite. This allows distance training to units at remote sites.
Q. Is DSTATS training realistic?
A. With DSTATS replacing external systems, data, and operators, the soldier participates in doctrinally correct simulated battlefield scenarios in a classroom environment. The soldier learns the software in a controlled setting, so that tasks, such as executing a fire mission, become instinctive or second nature. Then when involved in a field training exercise or actual situation, the soldier won’t have to spend time figuring out which button to push, screen to select, or menu to pull down. The soldier will focus only on the mechanics of communicating, maneuvering, and firing live munitions, and on dealing with weather extremes, fatigue, and unexpected situations. In this way, DSTATS supports training Field Artillery soldiers so that they can efficiently perform the software tasks associated with their jobs. DSTATS is already being used by The National Guard in many states, with users confirming DSTATS’ effectiveness.
Q. What is “DSTATS”?
A. The Digital Systems Test and Training Simulator or DSTATS is a menu-driven tactical message and communications simulation device. Users interactively receive/transmit tactical data messages in a one-on-one format or in user developed scenarios. The scenarios are time oriented, event oriented, or a mixture of both. This allows field artillery fire support units, both active Army and the National Guard, to train their operators and crews by repeatedly exercising realistic interoperability scenarios. DSTATS simulates the tactical systems not readily available to the student. This results in more realistic, quality training at a significantly reduced cost than actual field exercises. Fast Fact During World War II, 18 Army National Guard divisions saw combat and were split between the Pacific and European theatres.
Q. Who can benefit from DSTATS training?
A. DSTATS can be used to train individual soldiers, individual crews, or combined crews at each echelon from section/platoon through the brigade level using their own equipment, but without the added expense of additional equipment and manpower since DSTATS simulates the systems that these soldiers/crews normally interface with in a tactical situation. The system can also be used to drive large exercises through the use of time driven scenarios.
Q. Why do we need DSTATS?
A. As military equipment becomes increasingly complex, training soldiers in the use of high-tech equipment can be a real challenge. It is vital that this training be as realistic as possible, but it is also important to achieve it within constraints caused by cost, time, and availability of equipment. Telos’ Digital Systems Test and Training Simulator (DSTATS) provides a perfect solution, supporting the training of field artillery soldiers through the use of computer simulation. DSTATS allows individual soldiers to use their own hardware and exercise their tactical software in a realistic manner, gaining in-depth software and system knowledge by repeatedly operating interactive scenarios or by participating in one-on-one message exchange. veterans .
Q. Are there opportunities for veterans?
A. Once certain thresholds have been met (with regard to age, years of service, etc.) soldiers usually are not eligible for reentry to service, however, there are other ways that many veterans continue to serve. Most states have a volunteer force of veterans, often referred to as a “defense force,” “volunteer force” or state “militia” who serve in a variety of roles within their respective states. More information can be obtained by contacting state or territorial headquarters.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of my service records?
A. State Military Personnel Offices can either provide records information or direct you to records custodians.