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Old 08-26-2008, 01:18 PM   #1
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Default Anybody in the guard?

Got laid-off a couple weeks back and can't find a job worth a **** round here. So I'm thinking about joining the National Guard, going to talk to a recruiter tomorrow. Any input / experiences / advice?
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:52 PM   #2
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Have you considered the Air national Guard? You pretty much can pick when and where you want to work. All the people I know in the ANG are pretty happy, and deploy when they want to. I'm Acitve Duty Air force though, and pretty happy. My wife is leaving for BMT in november and going to be active duty intellegence operations. She was pretty anti military till I joined, then realized it wasn't so bad.

Army national guard gets activated all the time, and you may spend more time in the mideast than stateside.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:33 PM   #3
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Got laid-off a couple weeks back and can't find a job worth a **** round here. So I'm thinking about joining the National Guard, going to talk to a recruiter tomorrow. Any input / experiences / advice?
~8 years in TX Army Guard. What specific questions do you have?

General advice: Look at Air and Army. Don't pick a unit really far away, unless you will love your job/unit in the long term. Driving a couple hours to drill every month starts to suck after a while.

Visit the unit before you ever sign any paperwork. See what they actually do and meet the people. Talk to lower and higher rank. Some units don't do **** at drill, others like to go to the field alot. Some units keep you until atleast 5 PM every Sunday, it really sucks.

If you are looking for a full time Guard position, aviation usually has the most openings. IIRC, there is a Nation Wide shortage of Commo Warrant Officers, ask about this. Other jobs, AGR, you usually have to know someone, or somebody has to die to get the slot (Counter Drug and HR).

Don't sign up to any service if you aren't prepared to be deployed (Iraq, Afghanistan, or locally). It happens. You can be called back up in IRR for up to 8 total (minus any original enlistment, IE 2*6 is 2 years in the Guard and 6 years in IRR, 6*2 is more common though).

Make sure everything the Recruiter guarantees is on your contract. Written contract over rides spoken contract. Don't let the recruiter tell you what you want to do. Most jobs do not actually transfer to civilian experience, but the Military Experience is good.

That's it off the top of my head.

Chris
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:14 PM   #4
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Consider whether you want to have to balance civilian careers with the military side. I'm not trying to talk you out of NG/R but you will have to go through the same BCT/AIT and deploy just like the active guys. After all of that training, I know I'd rather do one job versus two.

I would go talk to a recruiter, take the ASVAB/DLAB and see how you do. After you've taken the ASVAB you'll know what jobs you qualify for. If you think you might want to, take the DLAB to gauge your aptitude for learning a foreign language. Do you qualify for a TS clearance? (no bad credit, criminal past, etc?) If so, that opens some extra doors.

Whichever way you go, if you get out at the end of your contract you'll be that much more marketable to employers.

...and get EVERYTHING in writing!!
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:02 AM   #5
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Well like i said i'm going to talk to the recruiter today. Miatamaniacs pretty much answered a lot of my questions. My "recruiter" is based out of powhatan which is like an hour away, yet there is a post about 20 minutes away but it's in another division or something....should i be talking to him if i won't to be in the closer unit?

I actually started thinking about the guard when i was searching for a mechanics job and found a listing for "Light-Wheel Vehicle Mechanic" in the NG..what are the odds of getting into a position like that and if I do what are the odds of being deployed? i don't mind getting deployed at all in fact I'd probably enjoy it once i was over there (save for the obvious **** like camel spiders ) Another side note that's not really a major concern but might as well ask... there's a lot of talk on the NG sites/ads for "up to $20,000 signing bonus" what are the factors they look at for giving you a fat check when you sign up?

Lastlty, for now, If I'm "full-time" what will my life entail while stateside....will it be a get up and go to work for 40 a week job like anything else or how exactly will that work?

I'm sure I'll think of more questions to ask before 1 o'clock when i gotta meet my recruiter.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:17 AM   #6
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Got laid-off a couple weeks back and can't find a job worth a **** round here. So I'm thinking about joining the National Guard, going to talk to a recruiter tomorrow. Any input / experiences / advice?
All things being equal, I would just go active duty USAF and be done with it. I think you get a better deal being active duty and the quality of life is best in the USAF. However, if you can swing it... I would go back to college, join ROTC, and go in as an officer. Night and day difference in lifestyle. The military is very much a caste system.

Don't get me wrong, being enlisted has it's own benefits... pay is not one of them, as an officer you make 2x more money. Most of the other benefits are the same and you don't work 2x as hard for 2x the money. The military has some excellent college programs and getting into an inexpensive college using student loans is totally doable.

If you do decide to enlist, take advantage of the educational benefits. I can't think of a reason other than you don't want to travel outside of VA to join the guard. Live a little, go travel, see the world... it's good for you.

Mark

PS - Light Wheel Mechanic = high chance of deployment. F-15 or F-22 Avionics technician = high chance of sitting somewhere safe and working on cool planes. Pick your job carefully, it will shape your career.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:14 AM   #7
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MarkP, you said pretty much everything I was going too.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:26 AM   #8
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So realistically since I'm probably going to end up being deployed anyway...which like I said I really don't mind... I should probably just go into the "real" armed forces (Navy and Air Force I would have to choose between) As far as pay goes is that something i just need to negotiate the hell out of before signing anything or is that and the "bonuses" all set in stone? I'm not TOO terribly worried about pay, I mean I wouldn't take a shittier job just for a few extra bucks but like I said before, no point in taking less than I can get, right?
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:31 AM   #9
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Light-wheel-vehicle-mechanic = walking in front of a HMMWV scouting for IEDs...

Also remember that the military considers HMMWVs "light" vehicles, so you'd be working on those, and probably anything else that has or doesn't have wheels (LMTV, 5 ton, etc.)

While deployed (and not necessarily to Iraq) camel spiders won't be among your top 5 concerns. I only saw maybe 2 when I was over, and they left me alone. My guard buddy from AIT just got back from Kosovo after spending a year over there and a three-month trainup before leaving. Don't trick yourself into thinking that NG/R = no deployment..

"Full-time" stateside, I can tell you that being enlisted Army (for me) means PT first thing in the morning, then work an 8 hour day (or, nowadays, 7 hours in class) and go home. Sometimes you might need to pull watch but you'll usually be compensated for your time.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:35 AM   #10
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Ok, so after talking to some people and reading what I have here I'm not too excited in the Light wheel mechanic thing anymore, lol. I know that NG doesn't mean no deployment and that's more than fine with me. I'm looking into talking with some people from the AF and Navy now so I can explore all my options before signing up with anybody.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:39 AM   #11
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So realistically since I'm probably going to end up being deployed anyway...which like I said I really don't mind... I should probably just go into the "real" armed forces (Navy and Air Force I would have to choose between) As far as pay goes is that something i just need to negotiate the hell out of before signing anything or is that and the "bonuses" all set in stone? I'm not TOO terribly worried about pay, I mean I wouldn't take a shittier job just for a few extra bucks but like I said before, no point in taking less than I can get, right?
It's set in stone pretty much. There are distinct criteria for which MOSs get what bonus and such, a lot of it comes down to how much effort your recruiter puts forth to find out which different little bonuses you qualify for (high school grad bonus, seasonal bonus, college credit bonus, etc.). Think of it like having your taxes done, the more effort the accountant puts forth to find money the more you get. As far as your pay once you're in goes, that's non-negotiable, the charts are available online (search "[year] military pay")

Also, try to get promoted before going to basic. JROTC experience, college credit, etc. can mean earning some rank before even getting to BCT. I came in as an E3, so I was immediately in about $400 better shape per month than those who came in as an E1.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:57 AM   #12
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Joining any branch of the Armed Services (even the Guard) is not something you should do because you're bored or broke. First, you need to decide that giving your life TO (or for) your country is something that you can live with. I'm not talking about the motivation Rambo had in First Blood... but simply he fact that you will have very little control over everything you currently take for granted.

Where you live, what you wear, what you eat, how you speak, the people you live with... basically every aspect of your existence is immediately and dramatically changed in a manner that you have no say in. Some people thrive in an environment like this... some people fail utterly.

I assume you DO NOT have a college degree and are looking at Enlisting, rather than getting a Commission. The job you do in the military will depend on a few things. The first thing is any prior schooling or technical skills you may have... the second is you ASVAB score. If you do poorly, you paint ships or smear grease on tank treads. If you do well, you get to start the reactor or fly in the AWACS. In the end, you have very little say... it all depends on your scores and how many openings there are in each Rating/MO that morning... literally, THAT MORNING.

Take some practice tests to see how you do:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...ctice&aq=f&oq=

You can't negotiate your pay and "contracts" in the end don't mean ****... and they only give bonuses that matter to seriously skilled people. A one-time $20k check is nothing stacked up against signing for 8yrs to end up failing out of Tank-Driver school and living in Oklahoma rebuilding weed-whacker motors for the base Public Works department. If you end up at Nuke Power School, you get a nice fat check... if you end up a cook, you just get to make beans.

Bottom line, no matter what you think, no matter what you sign, no matter what anybody tells you, no matter what papers you hold in your hand saying something... you will do what you're told.

Last edited by samnavy; 08-27-2008 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:13 AM   #13
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Sounds perfect for me to be honest. I was always interested in the military until I was about 14, then started focusing on cars and the thought never crossed my mind again. I've always strived in a structured environment and think the military would be awesome for me. I've had technical training down at ATI (near you and VA Beach) in automotive tech. I've been labeled as "gifted" since the time I was in second grade in every aptitude test or whatever they made me take, when filling out applications for technical school I was labeled as "extremely mechanically gifted' what all this means i really don't know but figure it may help my chances on the ASVAB tests.

I'm going to talk to the NG recruiter today. Then heading to the Navy and air Force recruiters to talk to them. I'll be enlisted in some branch soon I'm sure.

EDIT: As long as I can use a calculator I forsee absolutely no problems with the ASVAB test based on the link you sent me.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:05 PM   #14
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After spending a lot of time with all the services I would recommend the Air Force. There's a couple things that you should do if possible prior to going into the service. Finish college and come in as an officer if you are set on the Army. If that isn't an option, join the Air Force. They treat their people with more respect and are much better organized as an organization.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:14 PM   #15
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So I went and talked to a National Guard recruiter today...walked away laughing because he was so much of a joke. Went and talked to the Air Force recruiter and she was phenomenal, answered every question I had HONESTLY gave me all the downsides to everything spelled everything out for me very clearly, gave me a bunch of phone numbers/e-mail addresses of people in the AF to talk to to get a feel for it...I'm going to take the ASVAB test next Tuesday and I'm pretty much 100% set on the Air Force now. Thanks for all of the input though guys. One more question...realistically if I stay on top of my recruiter from now on about getting **** done, how long should it be before I'm in basic training, couple weeks, months, what?

Thanks Again.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:22 PM   #16
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college on loans is another option if you're jobless and want something constructive to do. that is if you haven't already done it
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:28 PM   #17
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I retired from the AF in 2005 and now work for them as a civilian. I see you are in central VA. I'm in fayetteville NC. If you would like a tour of the base and would like to meet some AF people that will give you the straight poop, contact me. The AF is more like a 9-5 with a little more discipline. You live well. No 5 am PT and then a long *** day of work. You do 7:30 to 4:30 in most jobs and PT is done during that time. There are some position that do shift work. The AF is all about taking care of their people. The words "quality of life" is a core part of the AF. Single room dorms, great gym, pool, library, club, cheap movies ($2) are all part of the AF way of life. If you want to be a macho killer ****, don't come in the AF. There are few career fields you can do that (but there are some). I did 23 years and don't regret any of it. I've been around the world time and time again, a few exotic places. Seen things that my country *** never would have, done things I never would have. When I retired I got out and came into my current job (with many more offers) at 74K, plus my retirement check and medical for the rest of my like for pennies. If I had it to do over again I'd do the same thing.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:37 PM   #18
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I retired from the AF in 2005 and now work for them as a civilian. I see you are in central VA. I'm in fayetteville NC. If you would like a tour of the base and would like to meet some AF people that will give you the straight poop, contact me. The AF is more like a 9-5 with a little more discipline. You live well. No 5 am PT and then a long *** day of work. You do 7:30 to 4:30 in most jobs and PT is done during that time. There are some position that do shift work. The AF is all about taking care of their people. The words "quality of life" is a core part of the AF. Single room dorms, great gym, pool, library, club, cheap movies ($2) are all part of the AF way of life. If you want to be a macho killer ****, don't come in the AF. There are few career fields you can do that (but there are some). I did 23 years and don't regret any of it. I've been around the world time and time again, a few exotic places. Seen things that my country *** never would have, done things I never would have. When I retired I got out and came into my current job (with many more offers) at 74K, plus my retirement check and medical for the rest of my like for pennies. If I had it to do over again I'd do the same thing.
Exactly what I want to hear right now, LOL. Sounds like from everything that friends/family have told me along with the recruiter that I'm going to be VERY happy in the force (if i can get in that is.) Now I hae to decide whether I want to be safe and sign on for two years or say **** it, sign up for 6 and get the extra dough.

Also, I'll probably take you up on your offer sometime soon.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:16 PM   #19
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Pretty sure the AF is minimum 4 year hitch. I recommend 4 year, that way if it's not for you it's a done deal. Oh, recruiters are lying bastards
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:39 PM   #20
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+1 on by-passing the Guard route and going Active Duty instead.

By the time you complete boot, tech training and the obligatory deployment you'll pull on your first four year hitch, you'll have burned 8 to 18 months of the hitch. Full time will provide at least 4 years employment, medical and college $$$. Afterward you can decide if you want to transfer to the Guard, chase a commission, make it a career or run for the hills. Regardless, you'll have additional marketable skills and some stories to tell...

- L
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