Anyone looking to join the military, even in a reservist context, should be clear about what role they hope to fulfill, and what kind of career they’re looking to build.
Thankfully, the Army & Air National Guard has a wide array of roles and benefits to appeal to over 440,000 active personnel, and the flexibility of a reservist role can soften the commitment of a full-time enlisted or commissioned role.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the benefits you can expect as a National Guard member.
- Job Security
National Guard members enjoy reliable job security, and careers can last for years. Depending on if you join the Army or Air division, you can join from 17 – 35 or 17- 39 respectively. This makes it a great starting career decision for much young personnel or a great career to return to for those who may have experience in the working world already. As a member of the National Guard, you can enjoy military benefits and security with a part-time commitment. For some, this helps top up their current salaries.
- Educational Benefits
The US Military is incentivized to train, educate and develop its personnel, and the National Guard is no different. Through educational benefits such as the Montgomery GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill, college tuition and other educational expenses can be levied depending on service time, role, and commitment. For many, the National Guard serves as a great means of pursuing educational opportunities they may not have had elsewhere and increasing their station in life. This is separate from all of the world-class training you will receive as part of your chosen specialism but will be related.
- Health Insurance
Health Insurance can be expensive, but National Guard members will be eligible for much cheaper healthcare through TRICARE, and of course, they will have access to medical when operating as active personnel when deployed.
- Life Skills & Career Development
Joining the National Guard can help you learn military skills, but also your chosen specialism, be that management of people, human resources, a technical trade, police training, and more. This means career development is often accelerated in the outside world, and as the reservists are a part-time commitment, you will be able to keep pursuing your ambitions in the outside world.
- Military Discounts
National Guard members are also eligible to redeem military discounts with their military discount card. Many brands offer service discounts, from restaurants to clothing stores, hospitality, travel, and entertainment. This lowers your cost of living to a notable degree, even when you’re not currently on deployment.
- Military Utilities & Resources
As mentioned above when discussing healthcare, National Guard members are able to access highly-developed and world-class military resources and utilities. This might involve low-cost subsidized housing in and around a base, access to the canteen on-base, human resources, counselling or religious services, and even financial assistance depending on the circumstances. In other words, the military tends to look after their own, and having access to that in a reservist capacity can be very useful indeed.
- Retirement Benefits
A military pension is considered one of the best in the world, and National Guard members can be entitled to a full pension and health care coverage after twenty years of service. For many, that can help with future life planning even after their service ends. This, coupled with your personal pension earned in the civilian world could entitle you to a very comfortable retirement. In addition to this, military service credit can help those who wish to transition their career to civilian or civil service job pursuits after their contract is completed.
- Making A Difference
The National Guard often operates on a state level, even though they can, and often are federalized for a range of purposes. However, they also assist with emergencies, disasters and other domestic issues that require humanitarian support means this is a highly meaningful pursuit for many personnel. Moreover, the fluid set of tasks and duties each specialism has in support of the wider military means there’s never a dull day in the National Guard, and that means you have the chance for an exciting and storied reservist career.
- Deployment Opportunities
With the potential for travel to a range of countries around the world but also to operate in a specific State, the chance for a relatively stable military career, depending on your role, is possible. As such, travel opportunities that help you experience different cultures while also providing a stable base for your family to move to can be a real draw for many service men and women.