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Anybody here with National Guard knowledge? Thinking about joining

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by sickquad, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    So, I'm thinking about joining up. Not for the typical financial reasons though. I'm 26, have two college degrees and a good job, so I'm not in it for the money. I would really just like to do something good in my life though. I also enjoy shooting guns.

    My hometown also has an engineering branch for the national guard, so maybe that would be good. Whenever I talk to the recruiters though it just seems like a bunch of propaganda from them.

    So does anybody here have any first hand knowledge of the subject. I am real serious about this. Good or bad experiences from anyone?

    -Chris
     
  2. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    If you join now, all I have to say is, expect to be gone for a year in Iraq. This is going to go on for at least 5 years, and as time goes on, you will more than likely see deployments edging up to at LEAST every other year, if not sooner. Not POSITIVE (I think the same) in the NG, but Army/Army Reserve is an 8 year obligation, and any time within those 8 years, they can grab you.

    Biggest thing with a good job is, you'll be hard pressed to make what you make now, just starting out in the military. If you can afford to lose part of your income for a year or two, I say go for it.

    Personally I think Active Duty is the way to go for a first taste, but in your situation, there doesn't seem to be much advantage.

    Can't say you don't like it if you don't try. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  3. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Best experience of my life. If you have any specific questions post up.

    My biggest suggestion is don't hurt yourself in training. If you do all your guys will go off to Iraq kicking ass and taking names and you'll be stuck at home like I am.

    Members of my battery are deployed right now, they're all my heroes and I think about them every day. /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif
     
  4. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for replying guys. I think I am just nervous about making a bad decision. I'm looking for a challenge and to see a little more of the world.

    I'm unsure because I was in Air Force ROTC my first year of college and they were all douche bags. I gave up my scholarship because I couldn't handle those people, they were just weird. No lie the guys in the program had stuffed animals and slept with them. It really freaked me out. They had no idea what to say when they saw my tattoo and were scared when I played Metallica in my dorm room.

    I was also told by the recruiter that because I am a college graduate I would have to participate in OTS. I do not want to be an officer. I don't want to be forced into a position like that. I am joining to help my country and to just be like everyone else.

    So, tell me more about your experiences. What are the better specialties to be assigned to. Am I wrong in not wanting to go to officer school? Do people ever have problems with there employer when they need to come back from duty?

    -Chris
     
  5. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I was also told by the recruiter that because I am a college graduate I would have to participate in OTS. I do not want to be an officer.-Chris

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You don't like twice the pay? You can still help your country. If if you a degree you might as well take advantage of it. I understand you wanting to do your part but I think it's just silly not to go the officer route if you have the chance. You can be one of the good ones rather than some anal douchebag. Help make the difference for your enlisted folks /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  6. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    By law an employer cannot discriminate against you because of your service...any seniority "scale" that is in place, continues while you are gone, just like you are there.

    I believe the cap on them having to keep your job open is 5 years. Military CAN keep you as long as they want, but I don't foresee that happening any time soon.

    More of a problem now and in the immediate future, which the military is NOT addressing, is discrimination in hiring. What person in their right mind is going to hire someone for a position, KNOWING that individual will be gone for at least one year in the near future, and you have to get a new person, retrain them, and ONLY until the other guy comes back? Some companies I bet ARE good about that, but I have a feeling more would discriminate than not. No way to prove that kind of stuff, they just say "you aren't what we are looking for" and thats it.

    If you've already got a job, I wouldn't worry too much about it. The law is on your side, and the military will fight that battle if it came to it. There are problems, but they seem to be pretty far and few between. The law is clear, an employer is stupid if they hassle you.

    You've got:
    USERRA
    and
    civil relief act on your side.

    Are you trying to say "OCS"? (Officer Candidate School) Never heard of OTS. You definitely do not have to be an Officer just because of college. Most if not all of the services reward college by starting you out at a higher enlisted grade (maximum E-4 IIRC) based on your college credits, if thats the course you want. You can always go officer later anyways, if you see that as something you want after some experience. Officers with no prioer experience are not, IMO, typically very good leaders. The lowest ranking officers are surprisingly, the officers with the most direct control of your life in combat. So you can see how lack of actual military experience might hurt a new officer in these cases.

    Like any salesman, tell them you are going to walk if you don't like what you hear. They have a quota to meet for enlistees, plus they know what jobs are critically short. They want to get you in, if they can talk to you into a particular job prior to actual enlistment, they win and the military wins. Nothing wrong with that, except if you end up being a laundry and bath specialist, when you wanted to be a tank crew member. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    If you want action, infantry, armor, engineer (combat), aviation, or MP are the "branches" to be in now. You will almost certainly see combat in the present time.

    I don't see the big difference in the National Guard and Army Reserve except that the National Guard in some states takes very good care of the NG soldiers...typically with a lot of tuition assistance, even more than the Army Reserve. The two organizations ARE structured differently, but ultimately, when it comes to going to war, there is no difference.

    The National Guard has a "bad reputation", but some of this certainly has to do with specific units, not the organization as a whole. I'm sure there are some very high speed National Guard units, just as there are ones that suck.

    Unless you know of a specific advantage to the National Guard that works in your favor, you may want to look into the Army Reserve as well. Not to take away from the National Guard, but since they are two different organizations, you only increase your potential options by looking at both before jumping in with both feet. What the NG needs is likely different than what the AR needs.

    The Army Reserve is almost 100% focused on support of combat troops. However, as seen in this conflict, MP's (which the AR has a bunch of) are vital, and soldiers with other jobs are being "converted" to MP's because they are in such high demand.

    Of utmost importance is finding something you want to do, getting the most benefits available to you, and getting into a good unit. Of those, getting into a good unit is the hardest, since typically you are assigned to one with little choice, and availability in the AR/NG is based on which units are close to where you live. The AR has a "50 mile" rule, which basically means they can't force you to drive more than 50 miles to get to drill, although that is perhaps going to change to 150 miles or so, in the near future.

    A good recruiter, if you ask, will probably take you to a unit you are interested in, so that you can get an idea of what they do, and how they as a unit function. There is no obligation to do so, and I'm not sure if they can even legally do so, I'm not a recruiter, but there are just good units and bad units...if you can find a good unit before joining, if there is a vacancy in that unit, doing the job you want to do, they can almost certainly put into your contract that you will go to that unit once you complete training.
     
  7. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Not only was I in a unit prior to joining, but I met my Platoon Sergeant and Squad Leader before I ever signed my contract....

    I highly suggest you take advantage of the officer programs available because you have a college degree. That is actually what I planned before I hurt my knee and essentially ended my career permenantly. Being a Lieutenant seems like a really cool job when we're not around other officers, and that's only the beginning.
     
  8. 82diesel

    82diesel 1/2 ton status

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    You dont have to do OCS/OTS.
    18months is the standard time activated. 6months training and 12 months in Iraq/Afghanistan or Bosnia/Kosovo/Saini(?).
     
  9. stick

    stick Registered Member

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    if you don't go the officer route i would be careful which job you pick or you could end up not being able to get past E-4. i don't know if it's still like that or not there were guys in my unit that had been at E-4 for 8 years because all of the slots were full
     
  10. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    18months is the standard time activated. 6months training and 12 months in Iraq/Afghanistan or Bosnia/Kosovo/Saini(?).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    *Standard* being the operative word here. Everything in your contract is based on "needs of the (insert service here)"

    At this point in time, 2 years straight mobilization is the most anyone is getting. That, and everything else however, can be changed to suit the military's need.

    I'm not trying to paint a bad picture here, but recruiters are under no obligation to tell you everything. They are prohibited from lying to you (I'm there are a few that will) but they don't have to volunteer any information. I would rather see someone join knowing what they were getting into, instead of being gone for two years straight and having no idea it was even possible, or being assured that it's "not likely".

    You can do many things in the service you will never do as a civilian, and there are many places you may go that you would never see otherwise, so there are definitely benefits. Just have to make sure you are willing to make the sacrifices demanded of you when the time comes.
     
  11. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    if you don't go the officer route i would be careful which job you pick or you could end up not being able to get past E-4. i don't know if it's still like that or not there were guys in my unit that had been at E-4 for 8 years because all of the slots were full

    [/ QUOTE ]

    The majority of people I've seen that stayed E4s for that long are lazy and have very poor performance.

    I've seen people make E5 in three years in the National Guard and I've seen people retire as SPC/E4. It's based on whether you want to work or not.

    Slots play into it, but you can always transfer to another unit to fill a slot, and if your unit thought you were that good, they'd find a way to get you promoted.

    In my unit, that typically means you are promoted to Corporal, and when they find you a slot, you get your E5.

    In the Army you can make AND HOLD E5 indefinitely without taking PLDC now so E5 seems to me to be much more of a possibility. You only NEED PLDC now when you go up for your E6, and of course there are a number of reasons why they did this, most of it is that people got promotoed, then shipped off to Iraq only to have to forfeit their E5 beacause they weren't in the US to go to the course.
     
  12. stick

    stick Registered Member

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    i did not stay in the army national guard for long enough to really find out . after desert storm, i tranfered to the regular army. i was really pissed that i had to go to fort irwin instead of kuwait. don't know how long i would have stayed with the unit if desert storm hadn't happened. i probably would have tranfered to another unit because mine had too many 31V. i think i would have been an 8 year E4 other wise. i suppose that the transfer to another unit would have been dependant on how far away the other unit was.
     
  13. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yes, at least in the AR, promotion is incredible. This is an attempt to keep people happy/in, and in the future I believe the Army will find this detrimental to retention and morale.

    ANYONE is geting promoted that is mobilized. Active guys have to have 700+ points for promotion (from E-4 to E-5 for instance) while the reservists need 300 points for the same promotion.

    Tim's right, E-5 is attainable in 3 years from PV1 in these times. (unfortunately, from what I've seen, regardless of how lazy or deserving you are) Could have happened before the current conflict too, but the promotions happening now are dictated from higher, not unit level, which is advantageous to the soldier.

    I was thinking Reserves is perfect to attain rank. Reserves for 6 years, then go active as at least an E-5 or E-6! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Now is a good time to get in if you want to "try it". You'll have ample opportunity to make rank quickly.
     
  14. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    It's attainable but I wouldn't say common. I am an E4, and my 3 years is coming up in January, and I'm nowhere near E5.

    I might see it before my ETS in 2008. My current first Sergeant likes me and everything, and I have somewhat of a leadership position with the guys deployed and all, but I seriously doubt it. I bet I'll ETS after 6 years as an E4, and quite frankly, that's fine with me.
     
  15. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Not common only because units don't get people to E-4 as fast as is possible. That's the units fault, not the soldier.

    I guarantee, if you get mobilized, whatever rank you are now, as long as there isn't anything holding you back like unfavorable action, you'll get the next higher rank faster than you thought possible.
     

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