Army National Guard Drill Weekend

In today’s post, I want to educate you about Army National Guard drill weekends.  I’d like to provide the ins and outs of how drill weekend works and what you can do to make it a successful training event.  Let’s get started.

In the Army National Guard, most units drill once per month.  A drill weekend normally consists of 8-hours of training on Saturday and 8-hours of training on Sunday.  Sometimes it can be longer and sometimes it can be less.  This is when the soldiers assemble to conduct unit training.

What are the Most Common Types of Drill Weekend?

The most common type is a MUTA 2 x 2.  This is where you meet for 8-12 hours on a Saturday and 8-12 hours on a Sunday.  You arrive on Saturday morning, go home on Saturday night and return Sunday morning.  Finally, you are dismissed on Sunday afternoon or evening.  A MUTA 4, on the other hand, is when you stay at the armory on Saturday night.

The next common type of drill weekend is a MUTA-5.  This is when you report to the armory on Friday night, normally around 1700 hours.  You conduct 3-4 hours of training that night and are dismissed for the evening.  You return on Saturday morning formation, work the entire day Saturday and go home Saturday night.  You also work all day Sunday.

In some rare cases, you might do a MUTA-1, a MUTA-6, or MUTA-8.  A MUTA-1 is a half day (4-hours of training).  A MUTA-6 is three full days, normally Friday through Sunday.  A MUTA-8 is four full days, normally a Thursday through Sunday.

What Do You Do During Drill Weekend?

There are a lot of different training events that happen during drill weekend.  Some of the most common events include:

  • Physical Fitness Training
  • PMCS & Unit Maintenance
  • Weapons Ranges
  • Inspections
  • Inventories
  • Convoys
  • Update Personnel Records
  • Mandatory Briefings
  • Staff Meetings & Training Meetings
  • Site Visits
  • Counseling Sessions
  • And Much More!

The events are scheduled on the unit’s training schedule.  The training schedule gives an hour by hour breakdown of what the unit is scheduled to do each training day.  You can ask your supervisor for a copy of the unit training schedule so you can see what training is scheduled to take place.  You can also review the Yearly Training Calendar to see the major training events scheduled for the year.  As a supervisor, you should always keep a copy with you and always know what training is scheduled to take place.

Example Drill Weekend Training Schedule

This is an example Army National Guard drill weekend training schedule.  Please keep in mind that this can vary significantly by unit and by month.  Some months you might be in the field for training and other months you might be at the armory for drill weekend.  Some weekends are geared around major training events and others are administrative based.

0630-0645 First Formation

0645-0730 Chow

0730-0800 Equipment Inspection

0800-1000 PMCS Unit Equipment

1000-1100 Mandatory Briefing

1100-1200 Sergeant’s Time

1200-1300 Chow

1300-1500: Section Training

1500-1600 Weapons Cleaning

1600-1630 After Action Review

1630-1645 Final Formation

Tips for Success

Army National Guard Drill WeekendIf you are a small unit leader, you have to be PREPARED for your drill weekend.  That means you need a training schedule, a game-plan, and you will probably need to go to the armory before drill weekend to get everything ready.  During drill weekend you must keep the training on time and to standard.  Don’t let your soldiers sit around the armory and do nothing.  Keep them busy and keep them engaged.

Whenever possible, try to get out of the armory and go to the field.  In my old unit, we went to the field 8 out of every 12 drill weekends.  Personally, I really liked that.  You have to remember that your soldiers did not enlist to sit around the armory all day long.  They want to go to the field, shoot weapons, get dirty and be challenged.  Your job is to provide that training for them.

Another tip for success is to ensure that your training is properly resourced.  That means you need to have assigned instructors, equipment on hand, and training sites reserved.  Failure to do so will result in a bad drill weekend.

Final Thoughts

In the Army National Guard, units conduct a drill weekend once each month (in most cases).  During this two days of training, they are expected to accomplish what an Active Duty unit has 30 days to accomplish.  That means the unit leaders must be well prepared and have a game-plan to ensure the unit receives “effective” training.

On a side note, I would love to hear about your experience at your unit’s drill weekend.  What do you normally do during drill weekend?  Is the training high speed?  Do your unit leaders normally have a game-plan and follow the training schedule?  To share your thoughts, just leave a comment to this post.  Thanks.


19 thoughts on “Army National Guard Drill Weekend”

  1. Does the natural guard simetines skip weekend vecausey my husband told me there was wasn’t any drill in July.. I think he’s cheating because after 8 years he never did not have a weekend away?

    1. First, I must say that really doesn’t make sense. If he was cheating, I would think he would say he has drill even if he didn’t.

      Normally, drill is every month but there are some crazy circumstances at times. You could easily find out from his Commander. What Guard unit (State, City) is he with?

    2. We’ve never had drill in July. They give us a sort of “summer break” where after completing annual training in June, we don’t come back until the end of August but every unit is different

  2. Tomahawk Jones

    I scream “Oorah Banditos” every chance that I get!

    You know why? Because I’m too legit to quit!

  3. My significant other in the Kentucky National Guard 2123 Transportation just finished a drill weekend on 10-25-15. Now they say that there were contacted about one on 11-7-15, just one week removed from the last one. Does this sound reasonable?

  4. Are drill weekends consistent month to month? In other words if my son drills the first weekend of this month, will his scheduled drill be every first weekend?

    1. Great question, Doug. The training calendar is typically made more than one year out. In the National Guard, the states typically set the dates that units will train on. From my experience, I’ve found that most units schedule training about the same time each month, with the exceptions of holidays and annual training. Every unit is different though. In my last unit, we typically had drill weekend on the same weekend each month. I hope that helps, Doug.

  5. I have a problem with a drill weekend in October. I am in the marching band and we compete on the state level. I enlisted after I joined the marching band. There’s a competition on the same weekend as the drill weekend, and in October all my weekends are gone. Because I’m wondering if there’s another drill weekend I can go to next month in November, and if its possible to skip a drill weekend. Because that competition that weekend in October is a grade and I have to go.

  6. My son is planning to join the split option enlistment. He is 17 and scheduled for his ASVAB test. I have already paid for a Disney vacation that includes all family members before we looked into the NG. My question is whether or not weekends can be negotiable to work around this vacation. If not, I plan to wait to sign his papers until after Spring Break when we are taking this trip. I wish to know a little more about his options before speaking to our recruiter. Thanks in advance!!

    1. In some cases, you can negotiate your drill weekend obligation with your unit leadership. But ultimately, they have the authority to deny or approve that. I would just wait until after Spring Break to sign the papers, especially since your son is just 17. Just my thoughts. I hope you all have a nice trip and holiday season.

  7. Can a National Guard unit plan drill over normal week days? I am worried that NG could conflict with my civilian life and want to know if there are regulations in place to make sure a unit will not schedule a drill Monday through Friday outside of an AT.

    1. Yes, it can happen. Many units drill on a Thur thru Mon or Fri thru Sunday. We did that a few times a year while I was in. Plus, you can be activated or called up at any time, even on weekdays. There’s really no way around it.

    2. Candace Ginestar

      No guarantees there. My unit pretty much always does a MUTA 5, which takes me out of Fridays. We have had several MUTA 8, which starts on Thursday. It’s just the name of the game, so to speak. I just try to have good communication with my civilian bosses.

  8. David C. Vanterpool

    I have 16 yrs in service and the unit I am in has a common tendency of keeping us 14-16 hrs (0700 to 2200) a drill as officers for a MUTA4 homestation. Is this feasible to go to IG if work can be completed sooner?

    1. This seems like a lot of hours to me. But that being said, officers are expected to go the extra mile. What type of tasks do you normally do after 1700 hours?


    2. Candace Ginestar

      We work until MC for that day. I’ve had days start a 0500 and not end until almost midnight. I don’t think going to IG will solve anything. Unfortunately, a MUTA 1 being a four hour block just means you must do at least that amount for it to count. A MUTA 4 weekend is never just 16 hours of work spread over 2 days. They can keep you overnight if they want.

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