National Guard Advantages

What are the National Guard Advantages compared to the Active Duty Military?  In today’s post, I want to share some of the best reasons to serve in the Army National Guard.  Of course, these are just my personal opinions, based upon my experience in the Army National Guard.

National Guard Advantage # 1: You can Serve Your State and Country

One of the things I enjoyed most about the National Guard is that you can serve your state and nation.  The Active Duty Army is a Federal Force, whereas the National Guard is primarily a State Force that can also be used for Federal Emergencies.  Whenever there is a flood, a hurricane, tornado, emergency or national disaster in your home state, the National Guard is typically activated to help the local authorities.  This is a great feeling knowing that you are helping fellow residents in your own state.

National Guard Advantage # 2: You Can Have Two Careers

Another great advantage about the National Guard is that you can have two careers.  You can have a civilian career and part-time military career.  You can do something similar in each job or something completely different.  For instance, you could be a lawyer in your civilian job and be an Infantryman or Pilot in the National Guard.  This lets you learn new skills and do something exciting that you wouldn’t normally get to do.

National Guard Advantage # 3: You Can Live Anywhere You Want

That National Guard has a presence in every state and U.S. Territory.  Therefore, you are not limited to a certain state.  And it’s not like the Active Duty where you will PCS every couple years.  If your civilian job sends you to a different state, you can transfer to a different National Guard unit in the new state.  Or, if you decide to move for personal reasons, you can transfer too.  This means you aren’t stuck in one geographical area.

National Guard Advantage # 4: You Can Earn a Pension

The National Guard is probably the only part-time job I know of that lets you earn a pension.  This is a really good deal considering most private companies offer no pension whatsoever.  You can do two days a month and two weeks a year for 20 years and draw a pension at age 60.  Of course, the pension won’t be a huge amount, but it will help fund your retirement lifestyle.

National Guard Advantage # 5: The Benefits Are Great

The National Guard Benefits are great.  You can purchase low cost health care insurance.  You can qualify for the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance.  You can shop at the PX and Commissary.  You can qualify for free travel.  There are even scholarships for National Guard Soldiers.  There are hundreds of benefits available.  It really is a great deal.

Final Thoughts

These are my top five National Guard Advantages. If you currently (or have in the past) serve in the National Guard, please tell us what you enjoyed most about it.  Just leave a comment below. If you have any questions, you can post those below too.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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12 thoughts on “National Guard Advantages”

  1. As the parent of a child who is considering her military options, I like the National Guard the best. (Not sure that she would agree.) I like the opportunity to gain many of the benefits available to the military (pension, health insurance, etc.), but I also like that she would be able to stay close to home if she wanted to. She would have a life outside of service, and she could serve our close community. Of course, there are also many other things to consider, but the National Guard is looking better and better all the time.

  2. I remember how crucial the Army National Guard was in helping us in NW FL after Hurricane Ivan. They served the state of Florida very well. They were at the MRE spots and along the shoreline and more. It is a job to be proud of. On the other hand, a part-time job with a pension? That rocks.

  3. When I was going through college R.O.T.C., I planned to become a high school teacher and an Armor Officer. The Army National Guard helped me fulfill my military career but not the high school teacher, because the state laid off too many teachers. Not only that, California was the first state that I lived in ever since I moved to the states, making it my home and the best state that I ever lived in. I know that the reserves also have the same advantages but it does not have the branch I wanted to transit into, ARMOR.

    1. Good for you on reaching your dream with the military, Kelvin. As far as being a teacher, it’s never too late. And if you have to move to another state at some point I’m sure you will be able to find a teaching job and an Armor position. Thanks for your service and for sharing your story.

  4. Neil O'Donnell

    With the near complete extinction of pensions, I definitely see where joining the National Guard would be advantageous. Any pension, regardless of size, will be a great support in retirement, particularly with the looming social security crisis. I also like the ability to do something other than your civilian career. There is a potential to add variety to your life all while serving your community and Nation.

  5. Whenever someone approaches me and asks about my experience with the military, the inevitably wonder if they could deal with the amount of time being away from their family. Then I normally tell them that the National Guard is a great option. If you want to get the great experience the military brings, but also have another life outside of that military, there’s no better way to do it.

    Many active soldiers look down on the Guard but I think they’re an integral part of the entire Army machine and quite honestly it’s a better deal for people who want to serve their country but not give up their entire lives and move away from where they want to be.

    1. While I was an Active Duty Soldier and Officer I also looked down on the National Guard. However, having served with the National Guard and I can tell you that it’s a much better deal. You have the best of both worlds. You can have a successful civilian career and do Soldier stuff a couple days each month. I recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue a military career, but doesn’t want to do it full time.

      1. Candace Ginestar

        Chuck, you aren’t the only one that used to look down on the NG and changed their minds (though a lot never change their mind). One of my friends works for proponency at Fort Lee and got to recently travel around to ARNG training sites (think: Gowen Field, ID). His experiences doing this completely changed his mind about us and now he is one of our biggest champions.

        I wish for every active duty person that has a bad view of the ARNG, that they come and work with us and see how we do business. Or work alongside us in combat. I’ve never had anyone complain about the Guard after a deployment experience.

  6. My husband serves in the Army National Guard and I agree it does have it’s advantages. It brings out the best in him and he is a better man for that! It gives him and other soldiers a sense of pride to serve their country but there are also incentives, including money for college, a future pension, and other aspects of the National Guard that make it appealing.

  7. My husband’s cousin is a service member in the National Guard. He has a great career now, loves where he lives, and is looking forward to the pension after he serves as a career military service member. The benefits have definitely been something that he mentions when explaining why he decided to join.

  8. For me the ability to have two careers would be the most attractive aspect of the National Guard. I still have many passions that I would like to pursue outside of just being a National Guardsman.

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