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Anybody Here Have Any Experience With the National Guard?

JamesR

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Just curious. I've mentioned a few times before that I would like to join the Navy after college, but I've also been thinking about joining the California National Guard right now to sort of get a small taste of military life to see if it is really what I want when I graduate. That and it seems like an easy source of income to supplement my modest part-time job. Two weeks a year one weekend a month sounds easy enough, especially if I can go through training in the summer to not interfere with my studies. But that's the problem: it sounds too good to be true. I don't want to sign some contract thinking that I'll be a weekend warrior perfectly capable of maintaining my job and school only to find out that I'm being deployed to Afghanistan in two weeks because of some loophole in the fine print that I missed. Anybody here have any experience or knowledge about this that might be useful?
 

montalo

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JamesR said:
Just curious. I've mentioned a few times before that I would like to join the Navy after college, but I've also been thinking about joining the California National Guard right now to sort of get a small taste of military life to see if it is really what I want when I graduate. That and it seems like an easy source of income to supplement my modest part-time job. Two weeks a year one weekend a month sounds easy enough, especially if I can go through training in the summer to not interfere with my studies. But that's the problem: it sounds too good to be true. I don't want to sign some contract thinking that I'll be a weekend warrior perfectly capable of maintaining my job and school only to find out that I'm being deployed to Afghanistan in two weeks because of some loophole in the fine print that I missed. Anybody here have any experience or knowledge about this that might be useful?
I dont have any first hand experience; so others can and should correct me for what I say wrongly.

Remember though; you are part of the Reserve of the Armed Forces, and if you need to be called up to active duty, you will be
 

PeterTheAleut

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TheMathematician said:
JamesR said:
Just curious. I've mentioned a few times before that I would like to join the Navy after college, but I've also been thinking about joining the California National Guard right now to sort of get a small taste of military life to see if it is really what I want when I graduate. That and it seems like an easy source of income to supplement my modest part-time job. Two weeks a year one weekend a month sounds easy enough, especially if I can go through training in the summer to not interfere with my studies. But that's the problem: it sounds too good to be true. I don't want to sign some contract thinking that I'll be a weekend warrior perfectly capable of maintaining my job and school only to find out that I'm being deployed to Afghanistan in two weeks because of some loophole in the fine print that I missed. Anybody here have any experience or knowledge about this that might be useful?
I dont have any first hand experience; so others can and should correct me for what I say wrongly.

Remember though; you are part of the Reserve of the Armed Forces, and if you need to be called up to active duty, you will be
Yes, this is true. While I was in college, I served in the Marine Corps Reserve, and a roommate served in the Guard. Each of us was almost called out of college to support Desert Storm (the first Iraq war). Once you sign that contract, you become the property of the government, who can then mobilize you whenever they need to, regardless of where you are in your civilian life. The National Guard won't shield you from this, for the US Army has the legal authority to call you up out of the Guard if the need arises.
 

FatherGiryus

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I was active duty, so I can't give you all the ins and outs, but I can say the pay is not worth the effort, so it better be a labor of love.  Oh, and you will get mobilized at precisely the wrong time.

With force size reductions under Obama, National Guard units will likely be doing a lot more, so you might end up doing a lot less drilling and a lot more serving.
 

hecma925

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JamesR said:
I don't want to sign some contract thinking that I'll be a weekend warrior perfectly capable of maintaining my job and school only to find out that I'm being deployed to Afghanistan in two weeks because of some loophole in the fine print that I missed. Anybody here have any experience or knowledge about this that might be useful?
There is no loophole to miss.  As a soldier in the National Guard, you are at the service of the Governor and the President.  If the Governor activates your unit, you go, whether it's for civil unrest or natural disasters.  You may even be sent to assist in disasters in other states.  You can also be deployed overseas if under federal orders.  Don't go into it thinking, "Oh, sweet.  Monthly beer money and a paid two week vacation."  Depending on what occupation you choose, your unit training may require more than this minimum.

If that's too much to handle, don't bother.  It can be a fantastic and/or boring experience. 

If your goal is to join the Navy after college, focus on your studies and get them done.  The armed services aren't going anywhere.  Besides, the culture of the Navy is very different from the Army.  Active duty is very different from the Reserves/National Guard. 

FatherGiryus said:
Oh, and you will get mobilized at precisely the wrong time.
lol
 

JamesR

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hecma925 said:
Besides, the culture of the Navy is very different from the Army.
Can you explain that more in depth? I was always attracted to the Navy because there seemed to be an academic bent to its culture what with technical skills and reverence for its history. What is Army culture like?

Edit: thanks to everyone else who responded; it was very helpful.
 

hecma925

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Define "academic".  If it's what I think you think it means, then Air Force would have all the services beat.

All services have occupational fields that can be highly technical.

Reverence for history....ehhhh, that's mightily subjective.

It's hard to describe the culture of either service, if you haven't really been exposed to one or the other in a real way.  Fundamentally, each service's culture is unique because of the different means of accomplishing the main mission (to support and defend the Constitution, etc., etc.).  It's the difference between earth and water.
 
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