My goal today is to share with you why I think it’s a good idea to join the Army National Guard.
I spent six years in the Maryland Army National Guard and really enjoyed the experience.
I joined in 2005.
When I joined the Maryland Army National Guard I signed up as a Logistics Officer and started out as a Company XO.
During my six years in the MDARNG, I met a variety of great people, had lots of cool jobs, and even deployed to Kosovo.
At the end of my six year commitment, I decided to resign my commission for personal reasons.
Even though I am a civilian now, I will always cherish my time in the ARNG.
If you are thinking about joining the ranks as a Citizen-Soldier, I’d like to give you some additional insights that might be of assistance.
Please keep in mind these are just my personal thoughts.
# 1 Purpose and Direction
If I could give credit to the military for only one thing, it would be that the military gave me purpose and direction.
You could even throw in “discipline” too.
Before I joined the military, I had NO idea about what I wanted, who I was, or what I should do with my life.
I always tell young adults that the military will give you “life skills” you can use throughout your entire adult life.
And even if you don’t enjoy your military experience, you will at least know what you don’t want.
Spending a few years in the military can really make a difference in your career.
What’s great about the National Guard is that you don’t have to go full-time.
You can have a civilian career, in your local community, while you serve.
It’s the best of both worlds.
# 2 Learn New Skills
The Army National Guard taught me lots of new life and job skills.
These skills can make you “more valuable” with your current employer and help you throughout life.
One neat thing about serving in the National Guard is that most of the people you serve with have a very diverse background.
I’ve seen dentists serve in the infantry, accountants serve as cooks, entrepreneurs serve as military police and much more.
The skills that you learn in the National Guard can help you launch a new civilian career, or just improve your skills with your current career.
# 3 Serve Your State and Country
Back in the day, serving your country was a big deal.
Now, less than 1% of the population has served in the military.
I still think it’s a noble idea to serve your country.
What’s great about the Army National Guard is that you can serve the citizens of your state, in addition to your fellow Americans.
I can’t speak for you, but I felt a great sense of pride putting on a uniform and being part of a time honored profession.
# 4 To Get an Education or Degree
College is expensive.
Many college students in today’s world graduate college with huge debts.
The National Guard will allow anyone to go to school for free, and even get paid while you go to school.
Between tuition assistance, scholarships and the GI Bill, there is absolutely no reason why you should have to pay for anything out of pocket.
I used to tell all of my Soldiers that there is NO reason not to leave the Army with college degree.
You can go to school part-time or full-time, at your local college or university, or even take classes online.
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- National Guard Combat Medic: 14 Things You Should Know
- Air National Guard Loadmaster: Duties, Responsibilities and Job Description
- Air National Guard vs. Army National Guard: What they Have in Common and How They Are Different
# 5 Travel
During my six years in the Maryland Army National Guard I traveled to Germany, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Macedonia.
These were fun and exciting places I never would have gone to on my own.
In addition, I attended many different schools in about four different states.
There are also opportunities to deploy, to serve on ADOS as a temporary full-time Soldier, go to schools, and to transfer to different states.
Combine that with the ability to get discounted or free military flights and it is a win-win situation.
# 6 Time Honored Tradition
The militia has a strong and proud tradition that is older than our country itself.
The militia (Citizen-Soldiers) have served in every war with distinction.
I was proud to be part of this tradition.
I’ve found that most people like to belong to something bigger than themselves.
# 7 Extra Income and Retirement
Some people say that the Army National Guard is the best part-time job out there.
Most Soldiers will get four days pay for a typical two day drill weekend.
You also have opportunities to serve on ADOS (Temporary Active Duty), deployments, and military schools.
I was a “Guard Bum” for nearly two years, going to different schools and working on ADOS.
It was a fun, challenging and a rewarding experience, and the money was good too.
In addition, you can earn a pension after serving for 20 years.
Although you can’t draw your pension until you turn 60 (in most cases) it’s a good deal.
How many part-time jobs in America give you the ability to earn a pension?
None that I know of.
Another important reason (I didn’t mention earlier) is the people.
Most of the people I met in the Army National Guard were your good red blooded Americans who loved their country and felt an obligation to serve.
That’s how I felt.
As a civilian I don’t miss the training, the meetings, or any of the other stuff, but I do miss the people.
In summary, these are my top 7 reasons why you should join the Army National Guard.
If you’re contemplating the idea of being a Citizen-Soldier, I highly recommend you talk to some Soldiers currently serving in the Army National Guard (non-recruiters).
Ask them a bunch of questions to find out about their experiences.
And if you decide that you might want to pursue this option, you can sit down with a recruiter to find out what options you might have.
I personally believe that military service is a good thing.
And if you already have a civilian career, or don’t want to be a full-time Soldier, the Army National Guard is a great option!
It’s like the best of both worlds.
On a side note, if you were going to tell someone why they should join the Army National Guard, what would you tell them?
Why did you join the ARNG?
Just leave a comment to share your thoughts.
I look forward to hearing from you.