Top 5 Mistakes that Army AGR Soldiers Make

Today, I want to share the top 5 mistakes that Army AGR Soldiers make.  Although I was never an AGR Soldier myself, I spent a lot of time on ADOS/ADSW and I spent six years as an ARNG Officer, so I got a lot of exposure to what AGR Soldiers were doing right and what they were doing wrong.  While most of them were good Soldiers with good intentions, many of them make some common mistakes that should be avoided.  I would like to share those common mistakes below and offer some advice on how to avoid those mistakes.

# 5 Only Having One MOS

Only having one MOS is a big mistake in the AGR world.  Whether you are an officer or NCO, certain branches and MOS’s have very limited upward mobility.  Every state has a different force structure, that favors certain MOS’s and branches.  It would be in your best interest to have two or three different MOS’s, so you are eligible for different jobs.  Try to get a combat arms MOS and then another MOS in either combat support or combat service support.  This is one of the easiest things you can do to excel your career and get promoted faster.

# 4 Ignoring Their M-Day Chain of Command And Only Listening to Their AGR Boss

This one drives me crazy.  In most cases, the AGR takes day to day commands from their AGR Supervisor on a day to day basis, however, it’s normally the M-Day Soldier that serves as their rater.  While it’s important to listen to your AGR Boss, never forget who you really work for: your rater.  If my AGR Soldier would have ever said that they can’t do something I told them to do because their AGR boss gave them different guidance, we would have sat down and had a heart to heart talk and signed some counseling forms.

# 3 Staying in One Job Way to Long

I’ve met AGR Soldiers in the SAME job for five or more years.  For career progression purposes, that is an idiotic move.  You need a variety of experiences in different jobs and different units if you want to advance your career.  Even if you love your job and have a great boss, try not to stay in the same AGR job for more than two years.  Sometimes this will be tough to do, but manage your own career wisely and know when it’s time to leave a job.  It’s much better to have a new job every two to three years that it is to have one job for a long period of time.

# 2 Staying in One Unit too Long

If you’re serving in a unit you love, that’s a great thing.  That being said, you need to bounce around different units and meet new people and get different experiences.  You need to network.  The AGR Soldier who spends time with several different units has a HUGE advantage over an AGR Soldier who has only served in one unit.

# 1 Thinking the M-Day Soldiers Work for YOU

This is without a doubt the single most common and worst mistake that AGR Soldiers make.  Many of them think the M-Day Soldiers work for them and are there to serve them.  That is completely wrong.  The entire purpose of the AGR Program is to have a workforce that supports the part-time Soldier and keeps the unit running smoothly outside of drill weekend.  Starting today, get your priorities right and realize that it’s your job to serve the people in your unit, not the other way around.  Your job is to make life easier for the Citizen Soldier.   It’s not their job to make your life easier.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are the top five mistakes that Army AGR Soldiers make.  While I realize that most AGR Soldiers are good Soldiers who try to do the right thing, there is always room for improvement.  As an AGR Soldier, you have a unique mission that is very different from the Active Duty world and very different from the part-time Soldiers that you serve.  My best advice is to follow the advice listed in this article and make sure you have your priorities in order.

What are your thoughts?  What are the top mistakes that Army AGR Soldiers make, as you see it?  Leave a comment and let us know.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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9 thoughts on “Top 5 Mistakes that Army AGR Soldiers Make”

  1. I would say #2 and #3 carry quite a bit of weight. Seeing different thing and different people broadens your scope of experience and scope of thinking more than anybody realizes.

    It boosts your confidence too, to grow your skill set.

  2. Candace Ginestar

    This is one of my favorite blog posts, and should be blasted everywhere. The reason this article had to be written is because it is a consistent problem. I have been full time (not AGR) and mostly M-Day – so I’ve seen how easy it is to get caught up in the full time swing of things. Yes, it’s easier to be full time. But that is not the point of the ARNG. There is a serious lack of information flow to the M-Day, even if you are proactive as a leader and try to track it down for them.

    These 5 issues are SPOT ON.

      1. Katesha Biagas

        Is there a handbook on the rules of engagement for AGR soldiers? I want to know what authority a direct supervisor has over an agr soldier?

        1. Each state will have a handbook which covers all the do’s, don’ts, etc. Because each state publishes it, they vary from state to state.

  3. A soldier, same a their civilian counterpart, can become stagnant staying in one job for too long. Not that doesn’t mean leaving the ‘company’ per se, but looking for other opportunities within. We’ve all heard stories about the CEO of a company who started as a janitor and worked his/her way up. If they didn’t look beyond being a janitor and gathered the necessary training to continue growing in the company they wouldn’t progress. Even before you’ve reached the top of your MOS, you should be thinking about lateral and upward moves.

  4. As I was never an AGR soldier, I do totally agree with a couple points here that can even be used in the civilian world. The part about having more than one MOS makes a whole lot of sense. You will always have another job to fall back on if cuts are made on the other. My parents used to tell me to get one job and stick with it; I had a different form of thought and I was educated in many skills, such as construction, welding, writing, etc… It has served me well.

    All the other points you make here seem like great advice for the AGR soldier also. I hope many read this and take heed. Good post sir.

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