The Retirement Process in the Army National Guard

Today, I want to talk about the retirement process in the Army National Guard.  I am not an expert in this process, but I do have some general knowledge that I would like to share with you.  If you know more about the process than I do, or if the process has changed, by all means please leave a comment at the end of this post to share your thoughts and expertise.

At some point in your military career, you will make the decision to retire.  That decision might come at 20 years of service or it might happen at 30 years. Once you’ve made your decision to hang up your boots for good, you must follow a series of steps to complete the retirement process. Those steps will vary slightly by state because each state does things differently.

Normally, this entire process can take 90 to 120 days to complete, and sometimes it takes a bit longer.  Please keep this in mind as you set a retirement date. You want to give yourself enough time to get everything done that you need to.  Don’t rush yourself.  Make sure you set a retirement date far enough in advance so you can square things away.

Once you’ve made the decision that you want to retire you should notify your chain of command and then sit down with your Unit Readiness NCO or S1 to get your retirement checklist.  Once again, please keep in mind that each state does things differently.  Before you follow the steps I am about to share with you, don’t forget to consult your S1 or Readiness NCO first.

Listed below are the five steps to the retirement process.

STEP 1: 20 Year Letter – Once you hit 20 years of creditable military service, you will receive a 20-year letter from the G1 or your unit S1. The letter will state that you are eligible for retirement and will tell you what you need to do if you want to retire. If you are past the 20 year mark and have not received a 20-year letter yet, notify your S1 to get a copy!

STEP 2: Submit Your Retirement Memo – Once you have your 20 year letter, your next step is to type up a Memorandum for Record for your Company Commander stating that you want to retire from the Army National Guard. There are several examples online.  Just do a Google search to find an example.  Also, you can ask your unit Readiness NCO for an example.  In your letter you want to choose your proposed retirement date.

STEP 3: Out-process Unit – Part of your Retirement Packet includes out-processing your unit. At a minimum, you will need to sit down with your Unit Commander.  They will probably try to talk you into staying in the Army.  After all, it’s their job to do that.  In addition to your counseling, you will also need to clear your property with the Supply Sergeant.  If you are a Hand Receipt Holder, you will need to clear your hand receipt in addition to your personal OCIE and TA-50 items.

STEP 4: Attend Retirement Briefings – In addition to your unit counseling, you will also need to attend a state-wide retirement brief. Normally, this is done by the G1 once per month.  At the briefing, they give you basic oversight about your retirement benefits.  They will also give you one last chance to stay in and continue your service with the Army National Guard.

STEP 5: Retire – Once you reach you retirement date, you will retire. That’s it.  I know it feels good.  If your unit is even half-way squared away, someone will probably take you out to lunch and present you with a service medal, gift or award.  There might even be a retirement ceremony for you to attend.

In essence, that’s how the retirement process in the Army National Guard works.  Each state does it somewhat differently, but the procedures are pretty much the same.

One thing for you to think about BEFORE you decide to retire is to review your NGB-23 and make sure your points and time in service are correct.  If you find an error, get it fixed before you submit your retirement paperwork.

In addition, twelve months before you intend to retire, you should start your retirement planning.  You should sit down with your S1 and get a copy of the retirement packet.  You should review each item and start preparing.  You should also sit down with your financial adviser, spouse and family to make sure everything is good to go.  That way, when the 12 months goes by, you have everything in order and your transition to retirement will be simple.

What are your thoughts about the retirement process in the Army National Guard?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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9 thoughts on “The Retirement Process in the Army National Guard”

  1. I served 11 1/2 years on Active duty and 12 1/2 years in the GARNG. I retired in 2005; or so I thought. I found out in 2019 that the State did not have any record of my retirement! Imagine my shock. I was issued my transition orders into the IRR and my 20 year letter when I left. I submitted my letter of intent and out processed. Didn’t even get a conciliatory award or anything else. They did not seem to care if anyone left. I was only allowed to address the company after I HAD ASKED to. I thought I was gtg! Stupid me for trusting the GARNG to do their jobs. So, I have completed all forms except the DD 2656-5, DD2656-6, and getting my NG23B.

  2. Ok Maj. Chuck Sir, fast forward 19-20 years from when you last stepped foot in a guard unit. thats where i am/today. My last two units dont exsist anymore. I have a few RSOs locally that are not/paid status so their not accessible only a few hours a week. why in this day an age wouldnt the army be online with all of our documents and retirement packages. I know no sense complaining just would make this process easier for retirees especially 19 years later.

    Cpt. JB ret

    1. The best person to talk with about this is your Unit Readiness NCO. As said in the article it can take around 120 days to get the process completed. It is best that you speak with them, as all units have slightly different situations.

  3. The ARNG retirement process, like all Army processes, is detailed, meticulous, and extremely well thought out. And, like many Army processes, it is quite tedious and requires that you get the ball rolling more than a year in advance! Moreover, the process involves so many personnel: S1s, G1s, Unit Commanders, Company Commanders, Readiness NCOs, and more. Yes, the process is very involved and strenuous, but it covers all the bases, confronts all possible problems, and ensures that every soldier’s retirement goes smoothly.

  4. I didn’t know too much about the ARNG retirement process before reading this article, but I assumed it would be as tedious as other processes in the Army. I was right! It sounds like quite a bit of a hassle, considering you need to get the ball rolling more than a year ahead of your retirement and there are so many people involved, S1s, G1s, NCOs, Supply Sergeants, Unit Commanders, Company Commanders, and more. Although it is a tedious process, it is extremely well organized and intricate, as is the case with all military processes. Everything is so well thought out and nothing is left unaccounted for. Every possible problem is considered.

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