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Pros and Cons of Joining the National Guard

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My son, in possession of a BS in psychology, is currently working as an EMT (has a lot of nursing studies in his schooling also). He is considering joining the National Guard for not only the extra pay, but because he was told that he could also advance his education by joining. He was told that with his degree already secured that he would enter as an officer, assuring him of benefits above those not holding a degree.

What knowledge or experience(s) do you have with the National Guard? Pros and cons! He is now a married man, a homeowner, and no longer a "kid" (29 years old).

I am just wanting to find out the pros and cons so that he can make the best decision regarding this choice! (and, yes he is wanting different viewpoints!)

Thank you in advance for your time and input.

By Trisha


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By Lee Anne G.06/15/2011

Just be sure if he joins that he has the officer thing in writing. They don't have to take him as an officer, only if they have an officer slot. Also, be aware that in this day and age he likely will be deployed and he should be sure his family is ready for that.

I was an officer in the Air Force and so was my husband. We were deployed all the time. I got out when our first child was born and my husband continued. He was gone about 7 to 8 months a year.

Your son should be realistic about his decision. He can continue his education but it is very difficult to do when you are in the middle east working long days, he will be really busy.

By mcw [80]06/12/2011

There are more pros then cons joining the National Guard. When my husband was a young man he serves four years with the United States Marine Corps. While our son was just a baby, my husband went back into the service and he retired from the Army National Guard with 24+ years. I hope that your son makes the right decision and joins the national guard. Our son is now 39 years old and he can retire from the U.S. Army with 20+ years. He too has made a career of the military as his father did. He is an army officer and has a masters degree, and would like to pursue his doctorate. There are many benefits available to your son if he joins and stays in the military and retires. At the age of 60 he will be able to collect his military pension. For those who have served 20+ years of military service, there is Delta Dental Insurance and medical insurance known as Tricare. He will be able to use the V.A. Hospital, and the V.A. doctors and have his medications filled at the V.A. Pharmacy. He will not have to carry medical insurance that he has to pay for himself since the government provides Tricare for those who fully retire with 20+ years. His wife and if he has any children will also be covered under Tricare, and Delta Dental but again he has to retire with 20+ years. When my husband and I were homeowners and paid our property taxes, the township used to give us a reduction in the property taxes, since he is a veteran. We both decided to sell our home in 2008 since we no longer wanted the responsibility and upkeep of being homeowners.

My husband and I have talked with a lot of guys who have regretted not getting back into the military and now it's too late for them because of their age. My husband was injured during the time he was in the national guard and we are now living on 100% disability payments. He receives both his army pension and his disability pension. He gets free eye glasses every year at the V.A. Hospital. Anyone who has 10% disability are eligible for eyeglasses. The government also covers him with 100% dental since he's disabled. He has two compressed vertebrae and goes to a chiropractor at the V.A. Hospital. In order to keep his 100% he has to regularly keep all of his medical appointments at the V.A. Hospital. The government also pays him mileage to travel to and from the hospital for his appointments. I hope that I answered a lot of your questions.

Recent Answers

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By Tahloolabelle [36]06/15/2011

Thank you all so much for all the good information! I appreciate your time and experience. Thank you for your service!

By cdoss [13]06/14/2011

The biggest "con" is that he could be deployed. He should carefully weigh whether he would be willing to leave his wife (and children?) for an extended period of time before making such a weighty decision.

By Deanj06/13/2011

First, I would nail down the offers of addtional education and officers rank. When I was in the service I was offered schooling and new ship under construction. Others were offered the same and it never materialized. I did not re enlist nor joined the reserve and glad I did'nt. The mililtary controls ones life. I preferred my independance. However, I can only speak for myself. Others re enlisted or joined the reserve and loved it. I would suggest your son talk to current and non current service people. If he decides to enlist be sure he will gets futher education and officers rank.

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