In the previous blog, we provided you with many Reasons To Join The Military in the United States. If you are planning to serve as a citizen-soldier – who serves our country in uniform while still keeping a civilian job and a life “at home.”-don’t dismiss helpful information regarding the U.S. National Guard.
Up to now, the National Guard has been called on frequently to contribute to its state mission of humanitarian relief and civil security. Because of their service for the country and citizens, members of the National Guard might receive a myriad of National Guard benefits. Therefore, this paper is published to explain the key advantages you might take from enlisting in the National Guard. Let’s read the top 8 benefits of joining the United States National Guard
1. What is the national guard of the United States?
As far as you know, the United States Armed Forces is conventionally composed of six different branches – The Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force. There are also three components of the military including: Active Duty, Reserves and the National Guard.
One of the interesting military facts is that the National Guard, founded in 1636, has been the oldest American military institution, even predating the nation’s founding in 1776.
The National Guard is regarded as a state-based military. Besides, each U.S. State and territory has its own National Guard. As a result, in essence, there are a total of 54 separate National Guard organizations in the United States. Currently, there are 450,000 guardsmen who are serving in 54 organizations across the nation.
Most members of the National Guard serve in the states where they are living. In addition to a minimum of a few weeks of service per year, Guard members commit to one weekend of training per month. Many of them serve part-time while holding private-sector jobs.
There are two separate groups of National Guard – The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, which are both regarded as The U.S. military reserve components but are different from the Army and Air Force reserves. The National Guard has been supervised at the federal level by the National Guard Bureau, the head of which is a 4-star general and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-the military’s top advisory body. Furthermore, depending on their duties and assignments, we will identify the guardsmen as either soldiers or airmen.
There are 2 primary reasons why the U.S. National Guard is unlike other military branches:
- The National Guard is a unique service component with both domestic and foreign missions. More specifically, in addition to activating in the U.S soil to respond to state-level emergencies, such as natural disasters, when called upon by the federal government, both soldiers and airmen also support military operations overseas, which it has done more frequently in recent years.
- The National Guard is a reserve force, which means that most guardsmen might serve part-time, gain valuable skills and pursue their passions. However, when called upon by either the governor or the president for state or federal active duty, Guardsmen will serve full-time like other active duty counterparts.
2. What Does the National Guard Do?
The National Guard motto is “Always Ready, Always There!”. The National Guards are required to accomplish some military duties including:
2.1. Disaster relief
Typically, the Guard is called up to respond to statewide emergencies, one of which is natural disasters. For instance:
- In 2020, hundreds of U.S. National Guard members combated historic wildfires that ravaged western states including California, Oregon, and Washington.
- By 2019, the Guard responded to 63 natural disasters – 7 hurricanes or tropical storms, 19 floods, and 12 fires.
- Annually, the Guard prepares for the hurricanes that now routinely strike the southeastern U. S.
2.2. Military support
The National Guard also has an important role to play in supporting U.S. military operations overseas. For example, the National Guard members have fought in nearly every U.S. conflict since the Revolutionary War.
2.3. Law enforcement
In response to historic anti-racism protests across the U.S after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020, state governors activated the Guard for law enforcement purposes.
Roughly 8,000 National Guard members were on hand for Trump’s inauguration, and 10,000 for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, which drew historic crowds.
More than twenty thousand Guard members are expected to be deployed to provide security for President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
2.4. Election support
In 2022, The National Guard has provided cybersecurity support in recent years to state and local governments administering elections and presidential contests.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Guardsmen performed additional election-related duties in some states. Besides, as part of the pandemic response, Guard members have carried out coronavirus testing and contact tracing and delivered personal protective equipment and meals. Furthermore, some states have also turned to their Guards to assist with administering COVID-19 vaccines.
3. Benefits of joining the United States National Guard
3.1. Gain access to affordable healthcare
Many people always look for a good health insurance plan when seeking their jobs. If you become a member of the National Guard, you might access a quality, inexpensive, comprehensive healthcare coverage through TRICARE and low-cost life insurance that pays out up to $400,000 for a maximum $25 monthly premium, which is almost unbeatable in the civilian world.
Visit official Tricare website for more information about the TRICARE benefits available to National Guard and Reserve members and their families.
Besides, there are Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), a plan that provides 24/7 low-cost coverage and the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) plan providing coverage of up to $100,000 for spouses and $10,000 for dependent children are available for eligible soldiers.
3.2. Have two careers
The National Guard is regarded as a part-time job for almost all guardsmen because they also have their civilian jobs. However, when being activated for a real-world emergency or deployment, guardsmen need to put the military service on the top of duties. Therefore, they are required to balance two careers so that you cannot be punished or fired for missing work due to military jobs.
In general, for those who aspire to pursue two different career paths, joining the National Guard is a good opportunity. For instance, you can live a double life as a Ranger-qualified airborne infantryman and work as a college professor in your civilian life.
3.3. Get help paying for school
One of the prevalent National Guard benefits could be getting your school paid. For those whose initial training is completed, most of your time in the National Guard will be spent just doing one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. As a result, you will have plenty of time for you to get that degree. However, if you are already in college, you should consider carefully before enlisting because you will have to take time off to go to basic training, advanced individual training, and you never know when you might be activated, which negatively affects your learning.
Although benefits for students might vary from state to state, many states offer tuition waivers for National Guardsmen. Moreover, you will earn G.I. Bill benefits for National Guard service that active duty soldiers earn, and if you are ever federally activated.
More specifically, for GI Bill Programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs affords soldiers up to 36 months (from $200 to $407 per month) in any VA educational assistance program and up to 48 months of benefits in case they’re qualified for more than one program. Especially, according to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Chapter 33, eligible soldiers will be provided with up to 100% of in-state tuition in public schools or up to $26,042.81 a year in a private or foreign school.
3.4. Travel many places
Maybe you have the urge to travel, but don’t want to fully commit to joining the active military and uprooting your life for years. A great National Guard benefit is that you don’t have to.
Joining The U.S. The National Guard is one of the best experiences for those who are keen on traveling and adventurous things because you will get to travel annually for basic training and advanced individual training in another state or even another country. For example, many National Guard soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, whereas, others are deployed to places like Europe, where they are allowed to be tourists from time to time.
Joining the U.S. National Guard is not like enjoying traveling around the world, but you never know where you might travel that you never expected. It could be an amazing experience in your life.
3.5. Get Comfortable Retirement
If you want to enjoy the rest of your life comfortably, you might enlist to the U.S. Nation Guard. If you serve at least 20 years in the Guard, you will receive your usual salary by the time you turn 60. Furthermore, you may have earned from your civilian careers. You might travel around the world, eat out at a luxurious restaurant or simply furnish your home with all the comfort you need with your retirement pension.
3.6. Take Bonuses
Another benefit is that new recruits may also be eligible for a $20,000 enlistment bonus if he or she meet the requirements below:
- Have a high school diploma
- Score 50 or more on the ASVAB test
- Commit to serve at least six years in the Nation Guard.
- Qualify for and select a Critical Skill or Low Density MOS
The National Guard always values competent soldiers and also gives special bonuses for exceptional performance. When you get a promotion and move up to higher ranks, your bonuses will increase to encourage you to work hard at your National Guard Career.
3.7. Get Competitive Salary
When being enlisted in the National Guard, regardless of whether your service is in training, weekend drills, or full deployment, you’ll be paid for every day of service. Furthermore, payment will increase with years of service depending on your rank, role, and educational level. For instance, monthly pay for active duty ranges from $1,602.
3.8. Receive credentialing Assistance
With funding for more than 1500 credentials, consisting of everything from personal trainers to emergency medical technician certifications by the Army’s Credentialing Assistance (CA) Program, soldiers can benefit from up to $4,000 a year towards any given credential.
This benefit is used to cover student expenses such as manuals, study guides, textbooks, processing fees, test fees, related fees for continuing education requirements, recertification of credentials in addition to tuition and so on.
To sum up, there are many advantages to joining the United States you might take. If you are eager to be a member of the National Guard, try your best to overcome the ASVAB Test with the highest score to qualify for enlistment. Don’t forget to take our ASVAB Practice Test on a daily basis to perform better on your actual test.