Top 7 Reasons to Join the Army National Guard?

Let me begin by telling you that I am not a recruiter, nor am I am in the Army National Guard anymore.

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.

Prior to that I was an Active Duty Army Officer for a few years and I even spent a little time in the IRR.

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.

This includes supervisory experience, time management, conflict resolution, job specific skills, leadership skills, public speaking skills, sales and marketing skills, and so much more.

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.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

  1. 24 Facts About Army National Guard Special Forces
  2. Understanding The Civilian Employer And The National Guard Duty Relationship
  3. Air National Guard Loadmaster: Duties, Responsibilities and Job Description
  4. 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.

I agree.

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.

Bonus Reason

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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6 thoughts on “Top 7 Reasons to Join the Army National Guard?”

  1. I'll add that it's not necesary that you want all of the things on that list. If you are interested in a college degree and learning new skills and would like to join the National Guard it's definitely an option. Now, it's not necessary that you are seeking the other points in the article it is necessary however that you aren't in contrast to any of them.
    Don't enlist and be surprised if you get deployed or that you have someone telling you what to do. Basically, go in with your eyes open.

  2. I would have to say the free education factor is a huge reason to join the Army National Guard. With the costs of attending college these days, enlisting in the Guard is a wiser step. On top of that is the extra income. With the economy in the shape it is in, who doesn’t need an extra paycheck? If I wasn’t too old, I would gladly re-enlist today.

    Last, but not least, defending this great country is all important! Just knowing we have men and women guarding our nation helps us all sleep just a bit better.

    Thanks to all who serve in our Army National Guard, and all other United States military members too.

  3. Many people are drawn to this type of service for the money. I like that you identify at least six other reasons why ARNG is a good choice. The opportunities for leadership enhancement and other skills that transition over into non-military work is spot on. My experience with National Guard members has been very positive, and their desire to serve does go beyond just the check.

  4. There are a number of reasons people join the Army National Guard. Some people do it because they have a passion to serve others and protect the country. Others are natural born leaders and fit right in to a military setting. It can also help you pick up new skills that are valuable in both social and business settings down the road.

    1. These are all great reasons to join the National Guard, Michelle.

      In addition, I do believe that the National Guard is the ‘best part-time job’ out there. You can earn free education benefits, build up a pension, and earn a nice income.

      Very few part-time jobs offer that in today’s world.


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