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
- 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
0730-0800 Equipment Inspection
0800-1000 PMCS Unit Equipment
1000-1100 Mandatory Briefing
1100-1200 Sergeant’s Time
1300-1500: Section Training
1500-1600 Weapons Cleaning
1600-1630 After Action Review
1630-1645 Final Formation
Tips for Success
If 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.
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.