Home : About the Guard : Army National Guard : FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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 Are there opportunities for veterans

The Army National Guard has a wide variety of opportunities for prior service veterans.

For specific details on eligibility, rank, benefits and more, visit: http://www.nationalguard.com/careers/prior-service

 Can I serve full-time in the Guard

Yes. Within each state there are full-time personnel who manage the day-to-day operations of the units in their state or territorial Guard. There is also a federal active duty force, which is centrally managed by National Guard Bureau and the Army National Guard Directorate in Washington, DC. Additionally, there are full-time personnel serving across the nation and worldwide as an interface between the Guard and other agencies. Also, keep in mind that when activated by either the governor or the president for state or federal active duty, Guard members serve full-time just like their active duty counterparts.

 Do I have to go to Basic Training

If you have never served in any branch of the military, you will have to attend the Army's Initial Entry Training (IET), also known as Basic Training. In addition, you will have to attend a period of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) which teaches you skills for the particular Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) that you are assigned. The length of AIT varies widely with MOS - normally new soldiers will attend AIT immediately after Basic Training.

 Do I or my family have medical or dental coverage through the Guard

As a member of the Army National Guard, you'll be eligible for low-cost health insurance for you and your families, along with low-cost life insurance, so you know your loved ones are protected. These Insurances include:

TRICARE Dental Insurance - The only dental plan sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD) for National Guard/Reserve sponsors and their families. With the TDP, you will enjoy a nationwide network of more than 65,000 participating dentists, high-quality customer service and comprehensive dental coverage designed specifically with you in mind!

TRICARE Medical Insurance - Medical Coverage is available in different options necessary to meet the needs of different individuals. From individuals to families insurance is available for those in full time or part time status to ensure coverage is available. Families and Part-time members coverage is offered through TRICARE Reserve Select and is a premium-based health plan available worldwide to Selected Reserve members of the Ready Reserve (and their families) who are not eligible for, or enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program.

Learn more about TRICARE benefits available to National Guard and Reserve members and their families at http://www.tricare.mil/Plans/Eligibility

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) - SGLI is a low cost group life insurance members of the Air Guard can purchase. SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000.

 Does the military operate hotels or resorts that are available for Soldiers and their Families

The Morale, Welfare and Recreation service can provide information about these facilities, as well as information about employment opportunities, entertainment, leisure, travel and sports. Recreation Services has offices at many installations and has a web site located at: http://www.armymwr.com/installation/default.aspx

 How can I find out about my rights and responsibilities as the employer of a Guardsman

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization has a web site located at http://www.esgr.mil/ that can provide information about your rights and responsibilities.

 How can I get a copy of my military records

​​Current Members: If you are currently a member of the Army National Guard, contact your unit Personnel Officer or log on to iPERMS (the Personnel Electronic Records Management System, at https://iperms.hrc.army.mil/rms/) to view and download your records. If you are no longer a member of the Guard, contact your state Army National Guard Military Personnel Office. They can either provide records information or direct you to the records custodians.

​​Veterans: Veterans can also request a copy of their DD-214 from their state War Records department. They also gain access to their DD-214 online, through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) website. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can also obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records through the National Archives. Please visit the link. http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

 How do I find out what benefits are available to our family

Each unit seeks to share information about benefits with soldiers and family members. Methods of doing this include inviting family members to annual briefings and sending printed information home with soldiers. Most units also have a Family Readiness Group that provides support, information and assistance to soldiers and their families.

Family Services

The Army National Guard values the support and contributions of our Families across the country. Family Programs not only benefit service members and their Families, but also have a positive impact on a unit's morale and readiness.


As a strategic partner with the States, we develop and deliver innovative human resource programs and services designed to support the mission of the Soldier and his/her Family.


Our purpose is to improve the quality of life of Soldiers and their Families in the Army National Guard by providing responsive, efficient and high quality support services that promote self-sufficiency, well-being and prosperity of individuals, Families, businesses and communities.

More information about the Army National Guard Soldier and Family Programs can be found by reading the lastest FOUNDATIONS magazine available in .pdf form via the links to the right.


Army Spouse Employment Partnership (ASEP)

National Guard members and their Families face their own set of challenges, from organizing life around training weekends, to dealing with deployment issues. The Army Spouse Employment Program (ASEP) is a great opportunity to attain financial security or to achieve employment. Army Spouses are probably the most diverse in the world, with a variety of educational experience making a talented, global, diverse workforce.

Family Assistance Centers (FAC)

Family Assistance Centers provide a variety of referral based services to geographically-dispersed families and retirees from all military components. Services include, but are not limited to, ID cards and Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) enrollment, TRICARE and military medical benefits education, emergency financial services, legal information & referral, crisis intervention and referral, and community information and referral.

Strong Bonds

This program empower soldiers and families with relationship-building skills, and connects them to community health and support resources. The program, led by Army Chaplains, is holistic, and preventative, and committed to the restoration, and preservation of Army families, especially those near crisis.As members of the world’s premier fighting force, Army Soldiers sacrifice for our country every day, and so do their loved ones. Military life places extreme hardship on relationships, especially in wartime, so the Army – backed by Congress - has committed unprecedented resources to help Soldiers build stronger relationships through the Strong Bonds Program. Strong Bonds has specialized programs for single Soldiers, couples and Families. Those Soldiers being deployed or redeployed can also learn special coping tactics. With Strong Bonds, participants not only bond with their loved ones they bond with other Army families, chaplains and the Army community as a whole.

Army Family Team Building (AFTB)

AFTB is an educational program for the Army Families, Soldiers, Civilians, Retirees and other who wish to learn more about military life. AFTB promotes practical life management skills and independence, improves knowledge of the military and enhances Family Readiness. AFTB classes cover a broad spectrum of topics from basic information about the Army to the development of skills for personal and professional growth.

Family Action Plan (AFAP)

The Army Family Action Plan (AFTB) is the Army’s primary tool to communicate to leader’s issues of importance to Soldiers, Retirees, Family members and DoD civilians. It is the people’s perspective of adjustments and improvements that will increase recruitment, retention, and work-life satisfaction. AFTB is a way to address the demands of Army life by identifying quality of life “hot spots” as the Army moves forward.

 How do I join

The most direct route is to contact a local Guard recruiter. Additional information can be obtained by phoning 1-800-GOGUARD or visiting our recruiting website at http://www.nationalguard.mil/

 How is the Army National Guard different from the Army Reserve

Our National Guard mission makes us different. Unlike the Army Reserve, we have a dual mission, meaning we answer to both state and federal governments. So Guard Soldiers can be deployed by either the governor of their resident state or the president of the United States, depending on where they are needed most.

 How will my membership in the National Guard affect my civilian job

Generally, membership in the Guard has a positive influence on civilian jobs. The skills and leadership you acquire are sought after by many employers. Some soldiers find their civilian and military jobs complement each other, while others seek to add diversity to their lives and skills by serving in a capacity quite different than their civilian occupation. Regardless, your membership within the Guard should not have a negative impact on your civilian employment.

If you are called to active service, your employer is required by law to allow you to return to the same (or equal) job you had when you left. Also, there are federal laws that prevent employers from discriminating against an employee due to his or her membership in the National Guard. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization http://www.esgr.mil/ can provide additional information.

 I own a small company and am interested in doing business with the National Guard. Where do I send information about my company

Contact the National Guard Bureau Small Business Office
111 S. George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
Phone: 703-607-1023
E-mail address: NGBSADBU@ngb.ang.af.mil

 I served in the National Guard for 10 years but did not retire. What benefits are available to me

If you were not medically retired from the service and did not serve in a combat/war zone, you will have to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.va.gov/ to see if you are entitled to any benefits.

 I'm interested in joining - what are the Army National Guard entrance standards

The Army National Guard is always looking for good Soldiers. The best way to find out if you are elgibile is to contact your local Army National Guard recruiter.

Most people between the ages of 17 and 35 are eligible to join the National Guard. However, we do have strict guidelines. Read on to see if you meet the minimum requirements, as well as the physical, education and aptitude requirements for Guard service.

Minimum Requirements

To qualify for enlistment into the National Guard, you need to:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 35* (must enliston or before your 35th birthday; 17 year olds require consent of a parent or guardian), unless you have prior U.S. military service, a specialized professional skill, such as a chaplain, lawyer or certain medical specialties
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident alien
  • Meet necessary medical requirements and moral requirements
  • For more information on the National Guard's elgibility requirements go to http://www.nationalguard.com/eligibility.
  • Physical Fitness Requirements

    Guard Soldiers need to be in excellent condition, and fall within certain ranges of height and weight (depending on age and gender), to fulfill the physical demands of military service.

    Prior to Basic Combat Training, you'll also be tested to measure your level of physical fitness, using a version of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). This test measures the number of push-ups and sit-ups you can complete within a given time, and the amount of time it takes to complete up to a two-mile run. You can find out more by downloading the Army Physical Fitness Test.

    Think you're physcially fit enough to join the Guard? Find out with the Fitness Calculator.

    Education and Aptitude Requirements


    At minimum, applicants must have a high school diploma, GED, or have completed 15 credit hours of college. Those applicants with a bachelor degree or higher may be elgibile to enlist with advanced rank, or enlist for Officer Cadidate School.

    If you're still in high school, you may be eligible for the Split Training Option, which offers the option of joining while you finish your senior year.

    For more information on education benefits click National Guard's education benefits/.


    Before enlisting in the Guard, you'll be required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (or ASVAB). This important aptitude test measures your knowledge in eight areas, including math, science, word knowledge, electronics, mechanics and auto/shop skills. It will help you find the Guard career best suited to your strengths—the one where you'll fit best and be most likely to succeed.

    This information is only a basic outline of the qualifications. Your recruiter is ready to provide you with more detailed information and make specific recommendations regarding your qualification status.

     My spouse served in the National Guard and is deceased. What benefits are available to me as the spouse

    It depends on whether your spouse retired from the Guard. If so, contact your nearest military installation for information about claiming your benefits. If not, you may be entitled to some benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www.va.gov/

     Obtaining Military Service or Employment Verification

    If you are seeking verification of military service for The Army National Guard to comply with the Service members Civil Relief Act, please visit https://scra.dmdc.osd.mil/. If you are seeking records on former civilian or military service members for the Army National Guard, visit http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/ and complete a Standard Form 180 and send to the appropriate address listed on page 3 of the form. These requests for records are not processed by our office. If you are seeking verification of employment for Army National Guard Title 5 civilian employees, please https://www.cpms.osd.mil/subpage/EmploymentVerification/ for instructions your client must complete to allow for verification.

     Once I join the Guard can I switch jobs or units

    Yes. Transfers within the National Guard are handled by the units involved on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as unit needs, individual skills, unit locations and career goals are considered. If you move to another state or territory, you can transfer to the state Guard in that location, or remain in your original unit so long as you continue to travel back to that unit for drills and other training. Contact your recruiter or retention NCO to discuss your situation.

     What are the benefits to hiring Guard members

    Guard members make excellent employees. Guard members receive world-class leadership development and technical training, both when they enter the Guard and throughout their career (including the time of their employment at your company, at no cost to you). They have real-world experience in their field of specialization, often managing complex tasks in difficult environments. Most Guard members have experience leading teams and mentoring subordinates. In addition, many Guard members have deployment and combat experience, proving their ability to adapt and thrive in difficult and ever-changing environments while remaining focused on accomplishing their mission. You can expect Guard members to perform as natural leaders and high achievers within your organization. Like all members of the military, members of the National Guard are subject to random testing for illegal drug use. National Guard members are required to pass a physical fitness test at least once a year, and are required to conform to the military's standards for height, weight and grooming.

     What are the service obligations in the National Guard

    Your total enlistment period will be eight years, but you can serve as little as three or six years, and spend the remainder in IRR (Individual Ready Reserve). IRR Soldiers don't train with a unit, but can still be called up in the event of an emergency. Your local recruiter can explain how this works, discuss your options with you, and help you make the best choice for your needs.

    Initially, all personnel are required to attend initial entry training (IET), which can usually be scheduled to meet civilian occupation scheduling requirements. Duration and location of IET varies according to career specialty - a recruiter can provide specific information for each Military Occupational Specialty.

    Army National Guard members are required to attend one drill weekend each month and one two-week annual training period each year (usually during the summer). Weekend drills are usually scheduled over a Saturday and Sunday each month, but can occasionally include reporting for duty on Friday night.

    Veterans who have served in any branch of the military have additional options available to them, including a "Try One" program which allows a veteran to serve for only one year on a trial basis before committing to a full enlistment. A recruiter can provide further details. To contact a recruiter please visit http://www.nationalguard.com/ or call 1-800-GO-GUARD.

     What careers and jobs are available in the Army Guard

    The Army National Guard offers a large selection of specialties throughout a range of skills. Specialties are divided into three major categories:

  • Combat (Infantry, Artillery, Armor, Aviation, Air Defense)
  • Combat Support (Engineer, Chemical, Military Police, Signal, Military Intelligence)
  • Combat Service Support (Finance, Public Affairs, Personnel, Supply, Maintenance, Logistics, Transportation)
  •  What is the Army National Guard

    The Army National Guard is two things. When activated for a federal mission, it is a Reserve Component of the U.S. Army. When not activated, it is a state-based military force under the control of the governors. As a state force, the National Guard can trace its roots back to the militia of the various colonies, and thus is older than the United States. The Army National Guard is composed of full time and part time soldiers, as well as civilians, who together serve both state and federal governments. The difference between the Guard and other branches is that while Guard units are combat-trained and can be deployed overseas, they are just as likely to serve in their home communities during an emergency.

    During local emergencies, Guard units assist local emergency responders to help residents endangered by storms, floods, fires and other disasters. Guard units deployed overseas may see combat, but are often found building schools and hospitals, training local police, or teaching local farmers more efficient techniques and better uses of their land. In many cases, the skills Guard members acquire in their civilian jobs make them the ideal people to teach these same skills to the citizens of other countries.

     What is the National Guard's mission

    The Guard has a unique dual mission, with both federal and state responsibilities. During peacetime, Guard forces are commanded by the governor through a state adjutant general. The governor can call the Guard into action during local or state-wide emergencies, such as storms, drought and civil disturbances. In addition, the President can activate the National Guard to participate in federal missions, both domestically and overseas. When federalized, Guard units fall under the same military chain of command as active duty and reserve troops.

     What should I do if I have a FOIA request

    If you are seeking Army National Guard records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) please see information below.

    If you are seeking records within the ARNG, to include the staff of the ARNG Director, you should direct your request to the appropriate ARNG FOIA Officer using the attached directory

    If you are seeking records about yourself under the Privacy Act that are filed within a Privacy Act System of Record, you should direct your request to Chief of the Office where the records are held.

    If you are unsure of where your records may be located you may contact the appropriate ARNG State Privacy Manager using the list above.

    Requests for IG Records must be made to the ARNG Inspector General FOIA Office at:

    111 S. George Mason Drive
    Arlington, VA 22204
    Phone: (571) 256-7838 FAX: (703)607-3684
    E-mail address: office.saig-zxl@ignet.army.mil

    Army National Guard Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act (PA) Office

    Welcome to the Army National Guard FOIA Page. This page was designed to assist the public in making FOIA requests for Army National Guard records.

    The FOIA, known by its legal cite as Title 5 U.S.C. § 552, along with the Department of Defense (DoD) Regulation 5400.7, Army Regulation 25-55 and governs how FOIA requests will be processed within the Army National Guard.

    How to file a FOIA or Privacy Request

    Please note that the filing of a FOIA or Privacy request is a personal matter. Military personnel and Federal Government Employees may not use government time or equipment, to include their government email address or government stationary to make such requests.

    Essential Elements of a FOIA Request Letter:

  • Provide your full name and contact information
  • Provide a reasonable description of the record(s) requested
  • Provide a statement of your fee category and your willingness to pay applicable fees
  • Send your request to the applicable FOIA Office (see below)
  • Fee Categories:

  • Educational, noncommercial, scientific and media: Any accredited U.S. educational or research institution or instructor of an institution, or representative of the news media using the information in a scholarly or analytical work contributing to public knowledge and disseminated to the public.
  • Commercial: Increases the commercial interest of the requestor.
  • All Others: All other requestors
  • Fees:

    The FOIA provides for the collection of fees for:

  • Searches: Time spent in looking for and retrieving material, either paper or electronic files, that are responsive to the request to include personnel hours (clerical and professional) and computer time.
  • Reviews: Time spent to determine if the record is releasable under legal guidelines, excluding resolution of legal or policy issues. This does include time spent excising text that is exempt under FOIA.
  • Reproduction: Generating a copy of a requested record in the appropriate medium, for example paper or computer file.
  • Fees rates and schedules can be found in, DoD Freedom of Information Act Program DoD 5400.7 and on the, Record of FOI Costs DD 2086.

    For more information about the Freedom of Information Act, please see the DoD FOIA Handbook: http://www.justice.gov/oip/doj-guide-freedom-information-act-0

    Army National Guard (ARNG) Records

    If you are seeking records within the ARNG you should direct your request to the appropriate ARNG FOIA Officer within the 54 States, Territories, and District of Columbia using the attached directory. Records of the Army National Guard Readiness Center are part of the National Guard Bureau (NGB), the structure of which is defined in the NGB Charter, and requests should be directed to the NGB FOIA Requestor Service Center.

    If you are seeking records about yourself under the Privacy Act that are filed within a Privacy Act System of Record, you should direct your request to appropriate Privacy Act System Manager. A listing of all Privacy Act System of Records Notices and contact information to write for access to records covered by the notices can be found on, DoD Privacy Office Website.

    Most contracts within the National Guard are Army National Guard records and are held by the United States Property and Fiscal Officer within the state where the contract was initiated. If you have the contract number, you may use this chart to find the appropriate FOIA office to handle your request.

    Other Commonly Requested Records

    For inquiries on background investigations and personnel records for former NGB, ARNG and ANG Federal employees, please reference (Office of Personnel Management for Investigations): http://www.opm.gov/information-management/freedom-of-information-act/#url=Contacts

    For inquiries on retired, separated, and deceased military personnel records (including Army and Air National Guardsmen), please reference (National Archives and Records Administration): http:/www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

    For inquiries on Department of the Army (non-guard) records, please reference (Department of the Army FOIA Policy Office): https://www.rmda.army.mil/foia/RMDA-FOIA-Division.html

    For inquiries on all Air National Guard , please reference (Air National Guard FOIA Requestor Service Center): http://www.ang.af.mil/foia/index.asp

    For inquiries on National Guard Bureau (Joint DoD Activity) records, please visit (National Guard Bureau FOIA Requestor Service Center): http://www.nationalguard.mil/Resources/FOIA.aspx

    For pay information, including contract payments, please visit (Defense Finance and Accounting Service): http://www.dfas.mil/

    Office of Secretary of Defense FOIA Requestor Service Center, please visit: http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/

    You may also find records previously released by the Department of the Army, including the Army National Guard, by visiting the Department of the Army Reading Room: https://www.foia.army.mil/ReadingRoom/

     What types of opportunities exist for women interested in serving

    Women serve with distinction in nearly every capacity throughout the Army Guard and have proven invaluable when deployed in harm's way. The vast majority of military occupation specialties (MOSs) are open to female soldiers. Contact your recruiter for more information.

     What Veterans Administration benefits are available to me as a former member of the National Guard

    What Veterans Administration benefits are available to me as a former member of the National Guard? Benefits for former National Guard members have many variables that must be individually addressed before benefits can be assessed. Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly for information about any benefits you may be entitled to.

     Where are Guard units located

    There is likely a Guard unit within a short drive of your home. The Army National Guard is in nearly every zip code. The Guard has more than 2,000 units located in approximately 3,000 communities across the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia. Each state has a unique force structure and a varying number of units, personnel, armories and training sites.

     Where can I get old Army items

    Equipment that is old has been replaced or is no longer needed is turned in to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS). There are numerous DRMS facilities located around the country. To find out more about how to get equipment from these sites you can visit their website at https://www.dla.mil/DispositionServices.aspx/, or check with a local military installation that has a DRMS office. Equipment is "demilitarized", if required, to ensure that it is safe prior to sale.

    Prior Service
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     Am I entitled to Veteran Benefits

    Benefits for former National Guard members have many variables that must be individually addressed before benefits can be assessed. Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly for information about any benefits you may be entitled to.

     Can I switch branches or specialties

    Yes, your experience may qualify you for an occupational specialty other than the one you held when you left active duty. You can also change your specialty by attending an active or reserve component service school.

     I've been called to active duty for six months and my employer has told me I will be fired if I leave. What are my rights

    The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides protection and rights of reinstatement to employees who participate in the National Guard and Reserve. To find out what your rights are, go to the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve's FAQ website or, you can contact ESGR Ombudsmen Services through your local ESGR Committee or the National ESGR Headquarters, or the toll-free number, (800) 336-4590 (ask for Ombudsmen Services).

     What will my pay be

    For each Guard training assembly you attend (usually 4 per weekend), you will receive a full day's pay for your grade and number of years service (active and reserve time). You can visit the Defense Finance Service web site http://www.dfas.mil for the specific amount for your pay grade.

     Why does the Guard want veterans

    Your local Guard unit needs your leadership skills and valuable experience with advanced military equipment, weapons and tactics. You can help train other Citizen-Soldiers and share with them the strength and knowledge you've gained in active service.

     Why should I continue my military service with the Guard

    Thousands of veterans from all branches of service join the Guard each year and find that it gives them the best of both military and civilian life. In the Guard you keep many of the benefits you received in active service. You have the opportunity serve your state, nation and community while staying close to home. And because the Guard is part-time, you can hold a civilian job or go to school. Plus, your Guard service gets added to your prior military service when it comes to calculating pay and retirement benefits.

    Other Questions
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     Am I too old to join

    It depends on your objective in enlisting. If your goal is to accrue time toward retirement benefits, you must be able to complete 20 combined years of service by the age 60. For example, if you have twelve years of service already, you need to be no older than 52 to join and receive your retirement. If retirement benefits are not your objective in joining, your maximum age will depend on your specific service history. No two situations are alike. Please speak to a recruiter to discuss how your age affects your enlistment.

     Can I go to college and be in the Guard

    Absolutely. Your Guard service is only part time - typically one weekend per month, and one two-week period each year. Plus, the Guard can help you pay for college or prepare to become an officer.

     What is Basic Training like

    It's hard, intense, and demanding. You'll love it! Basic Training is a 10-week intensive course of exercises and drills designed to toughen you up inside and out. The time is broken down into three phases of roughly three weeks each, designed to take you from an ordinary civilian to Citizen-Soldier.