National Guard is the oldest component of the U.S. Armed Forces. Today's National Guard
remains a dual state-Federal force. With increasing active
missions, including this nation's response to weapons of mass
destruction, the Guard is more important than ever.
Those without prior
service must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien between 17
and 35; must pass an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery,
a Standard Armed Forces Physical Examination, and be of good moral
character; must be available for initial active duty training; and must participate in an initial 12-week tour of active duty training.
The military service
obligation is eight years. The Army National Guard offers three, four, six or eight years active
Guard enlistment options with the balance of the time spent in the Individual Ready Reserves
(non-drill status), or Inactive National Guard. The Air National Guard
offers two options; six years active Guard and two years in the
Individual Ready Reserves, or
four and four.
New personnel must complete 12-week
initial active duty training which includes:
- Army National
Guard Enlistees attend basic training for eight weeks, followed
by advanced individual training in the Military Occupational
- Air National
Guard Enlistees attend basic military training for six weeks,
followed by advancement training in an Air Force Specialty Code. The
number of weeks spent for instruction varies according to the
specific course requirements for each specialty.
Joining the Guard
prior service must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens
between 17 and 59; pass the Standard Armed Forces Physical
examination and attain certain test standards; and have favorable reenlistment eligibility
The Army National
Guard offers enlistees accelerated promotions under the Civilian
Acquired Skills Program, and a $5,000 bonus for a six year enlistment in
any unit. Upon return to their units, enlistees may be promoted to
grades E-4 or E-5, depending on their demonstrated ability, prerequisite
training and skill level for the specialty they selected.
College students who
enlist in the Army National Guard may join at pay grade E-2 or E-3.
No-prior service college students with 30 to 59 semester hours may
enlist as an E-2. Those with 60 or more semester hours or two years of
accredited college with no degree may enlist as an E-3. Those with a
baccalaureate degree may join as an E-4.
college students, ROTC students (both High School and College), and
former service academy students, may qualify for enlistment in grades up
to E-3 based on number of credits and/or years of satisfactory ROTC
participation. Civil Air Patrol participants presenting the General
Billy Mitchell Award may qualify for enlistment as E-3.
Recipients of the Boy Scout Eagle Award or the Girl Scout Gold Palm
Award may enlist as E-2.
Both the Army and Air National Guard offer the “Try-One”
enlistment option to active duty veterans and all prior service
individuals who are joining or rejoining the Guard for the first time.
The Army National
Guard offers the one-year reenlistment option to Guard members with less
than 10 years of service. Those with 10 or more years of service must
reenlist for a period of three years or more.
The Army National
Guard offers $2,500 for critical skills when joining designated units. The Air National Guard also offers a $2,000 to
$5,000 enlistment bonus for critical skills based on assigned unit.
A reenlistment bonus
is offered to qualified personnel reenlisting or extending in the Army
Guard up to $2,500 for three years. Specific Air Force
specialties with reenlistment bonuses vary by unit. State
officials determine which specialties qualify. Air National Guard Retention Personnel should be consulted to
determine which positions are currently authorized a bonus.
The Army and Air
Guard also offer an “affiliation bonus” which may be paid to active
duty personnel who join the Reserve Components upon their release from
active duty. The bonus is payment of $50 per month ($600 per year) for
the remainder of their mandatory eight-year military service obligation.
Need more information?
Fill out this form and we will have a recruiter contact you about military career