What Is the National Guard?
If you're thinking about joining the military, you shouldn't be questioning what is the National Guard all about.
Despite having one of the strongest militaries in the world, many Americans don't really know much about their country's defense forces. This is especially true about the National Guard.
A lot of people who hear about the National Guard assume things about it, many of which aren't true in the least bit. Some people don't even know what the National Guard is — and will straight up ask, "What is the National Guard?" when they hear them being referenced in the news.
It's shocking how little people know about the National Guard, and that's pretty embarrassing. This guide will give you a very basic idea of what the National Guard is, and how it differs from other military forces.
What is the National Guard?
The National Guard is an official branch of the US military, and it's active on both the federal and state levels. This is because the National Guard was originally made of state militias. Nowadays, this is the only military branch that works on both domestic and international levels.
The National Guard is not the same as the Army Reserves, by the way. The Army Reserves are a federal use group, exclusively.
What is the National Guard for?
They are a dual-purpose branch of the military, and they are a reserve military force. This means that the president can choose to mobilize the troops for international wars — and that, unlike other branches of the military, National Guardsmen also can be deployed at the state level.
Generally speaking, the National Guard is seen as reserves in our military. So, Guardsmen aren't full-time members unless they are specifically told to be in active duty. Most guardsmen will train once a month or so to ensure that they are ready in case of an emergency or a federal deployment.
More commonly, though, the National Guard gets called out during domestic emergencies. These are the people who get called out to help in counterdrug operations, major environmental disasters, or major city riots. No other branch of the military typically does this.
What is the National Guard like?
Just like with any other military branch, joining the National Guard will require you to give up time in your schedule and be prepared to commit several years of your life to this career. You also will have to pass basic requirements, as well as Basic Training.
That's where the similarities in experience stop. The National Guard experience, for those who are able to join, varies from person to person. Over 150 different jobs exist in the National Guard, ranging from the medical field to being an aviation expert in a foreign war.
If you stay a part-timer, then you will spend eight years or so just doing drills. If you become a part of active duty, then you will be just like any other full-time military member who is going to war.
That being said, most people who experience the National Guard seem to be glad they joined. However, it's up to you to decide what's right for your particular lifestyle.