Top 10 National Guard Benefits: Citizen Soldier Benefits

In today’s post, I will review the top 10 National Guard Benefits.

It seems negative attitudes and opinions are abundant. Especially in regards to the United States military. Just try mentioning on a social media site that your are considering joining the United States Army National Guard. You may hear negative responses such as:

  • You will deploy to a war zone and you might come back in a body bag.
  • If you don’t like it or are offered a better opportunity, you can’t leave until your time is up.
  • Why serve in the military when you could have a part-time job instead?

And while there is some truth to these negative statements, I believe the BENEFITS of serving as a Citizen-Soldier greatly outweigh the disadvantages. That’s what I want to focus on in the rest of this article: the benefits you have when serving in the Army National Guard.

When you join the Guard, you create a world where goals are within your grasp. It’s not easy, but you’ll overcome whatever challenge is laid out before you. Get a degree with money for school, learn job skills that translate to the civilian world, make bonds that last a lifetime and earn pride for life. ~ Army National Guard

Top 10 National Guard Benefits

Top 10 National Guard Benefits

There are many benefits of serving in the National Guard. Here are my top 10 favorites.

# 1: Home Loans

As a Citizen Soldier, you can qualify for a VA Home Loan, if you meet certain requirements. I’ve used a VA Loan myself. It saved me a lot of money by not needing a down payment AND I didn’t need to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance either. Plus, when you use a VA Loan, there is no funding fee. These VA loans allow just about ANY veteran or service member to purchase a home.

VA mortgages demand no down payment in most cases. When it comes to home loans, Zero down is a huge advantage, mainly for lower-ranking junior enlisted personnel. ~

# 2: Education

If you want to attend college, but can’t afford to pay the tuition, you should consider a short enlistment in the National Guard. You can use tuition assistance, plus the GI Bill. Plus, there are scholarships available, and some schools have grants and discounts for service members. Depending on which college you choose, in many cases you can attend college with ZERO out of pocket expenses. Not bad! Best of all, by the time you graduate college, you will have experience, skills, no college debt, and your enlistment will be complete!

The U.S. Military is the biggest single funder of education benefits. ROTC and service academies offer scholarships for post-secondary education to those who have not yet begun their formal service. Each year, the Army ROTC alone provides roughly $274 million in scholarship money. Amounts vary by school, but an ROTC scholarship is estimated to be worth about $80,000 per student. ~ ASVAB

# 3: Job/Career Training

Many of the jobs in the Army National Guard have an equivalent job in the civilian world. When you qualify for an Army National Guard MOS (military occupational specialty), you will receive high quality training that most civilian employers respect. Most people who served in the National Guard have no problem being hired for an equivalent civilian job because of their training and experience.

Even better, someone who enlists at the age of 18 will gain real-world experience while they attend college (or just find their way through life). By the time they graduate college, they already have four-year’s experience learning a real-world skill. Even better, they were taught that skill for FREE and PAID while learning it.

National Guard Career

# 4: Health Insurance

Normal people like you and me cannot afford to go without health insurance. Just opening the doors to an emergency room can cost THOUSANDS of dollars. By serving in the National Guard, you and your immediate family are eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select. No, it’s not free, but it is an affordable, high quality health insurance plan you can use if your employer doesn’t provide you with health insurance.

# 5: Life Insurance

The military, even the National Guard, offers low-cost life insurance known as SGLI. You can protect your family in case something bad happens to you (death). After all, we’re all going to die one day. We just don’t know when. The last thing we want to do is leave our loved ones in a financial bind when we die.

Low-cost life insurance plans are available for Guard members and their families. For Guard members, there’s the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), which provides coverage 24/7. Soldiers are eligible for $400,000 of insurance. Smaller amounts of coverage are available. Coverage is available through age 60, upon receipt of your first retirement check or 120 days after a Soldier’s ETS (Expiration of Term of Service). ~ National Guard

# 6: The Adventure

Let’s admit it, joining the military is an adventure. Yes, it will be difficult, but you will have the opportunity to do things you would never have normally done.

  • Parachute
  • Drive a tank
  • Fly a helicopter
  • etc…

You will discover that you have the ability to do more than you could ever imagine. Life is an adventure. Live life to its fullest.

National Guard Career

# 7: The Money

Serving in the National Guard is better than a part-time job, in my opinion. During drill weekend, you earn FOUR DAYS PAY for two days work. Not bad. Plus you get paid for your annual training, attending military schools, and more. Throw in the fact that you can earn a PENSION after 20-years of part-time work. How many civilian employers offer that?

I’d also like to chime in and say that you can use your drill pay to get out of debt, invest in the future, and increase your net worth. If you don’t waste your income on unnecessary things, you can leverage that extra $200 to $1,000 per month to create significant wealth for your family.

As of Oct 29, 2022, the average annual pay for a National Guard in the United States is $50,358 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $24.21 an hour. This is the equivalent of $968/week or $4,196/month. ~ Zip Recruiter

# 8: Job Protection

At any given time, a civilian employer may decide to cut costs and terminate employees. Companies merge, go out of business, and restructure. Often times, people who think they have job security don’t. In the National Guard, you don’t need to worry about getting downsized, especially if you are a good soldier, are willing to relocate to a different unit, or can acquire a different MOS. Also, if you are called up to deploy, or attend military training, you are protected by Federal Law from being fired from your civilian employer.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) guarantees the rights of military service members to take a leave of absence from their civilian jobs for active military service and to return to their jobs with accrued seniority and other employment protections. ~

# 9: Travel

It was mentioned at the beginning of this post that being deployed is considered a negative. I don’t think so. The experience you gain will be life altering (in most cases, in a good way). In addition, you can attend military schools in different states, have annual training in neat locations, and visit places you might not visit otherwise. Plus, you get PAID to travel!

After joining, you’ll jump on a plane headed to one of several Basic Combat Training sites located in Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky or Oklahoma. While these locations may not be glamourous or exotic, and certainly not a vacation, it could be an opportunity to see a new part of the United States. And that’s only the beginning. You may also be activated for a or a deployment anywhere in the world. ~ Utah National Guard

# 10: Pride, Patriotism, & Purpose

One of the best National Guard benefits is the sense of pride you get by serving your country and state. I learned patriotism in the military. I love my country. Plus, it’s awesome to be part of something bigger than yourself and know that you are giving back to your community and country.

Your military service served a tremendous purpose — ensuring the safety of your nation and upholding the values of honor, courage and duty in which you believe. Being called to serve in this way felt like your purpose. ~

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are the top 10 National Guard benefits, as I see it. If people are trying to tell you that joining the National Guard has no lasting benefits, I suggest you do not listen to them. As a matter of fact, show them this article. Even better, talk with someone who is currently serving (or served in the past) and ask them what benefits they received from military service.

What are your thoughts? What are your top National Guard benefits? What did I leave off this list, but should have added? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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