Pros & Cons of the Army National Guard

by Sean Mullin

The Army National Guard is somewhat like a part-time version of active duty in the Army: recruits still go through basic training, but they are allowed to maintain a civilian career and to live a mostly civilian lifestyle. Guard members only perform full-time military duties during times of war. As with any part-time job, there are pros and cons to joining the Guard.

Pay and Benefits

The National Guard offers enlisted men and women a signing bonus and compensations for every day that they work. In addition, the Guard can help enlisted members acquire their GED, pay for college, or get started on a civilian career. For example, "Drive the Guard" is a program that builds valuable experience for a civilian trucking career.

Time

The extra financial security that the National Guard provides comes at the price of unlimited freedom and flexibility, as Guard members will spend at least one weekend a month in peacetime doing Guard duties, and in times of war they may be put into active duty in war zones far from home. Unlike a civilian part-time job, the National Guard requires the signing of a binding contract, and so those who sign up can't simply quit or leave for a vacation.

Danger

As is true of all military careers, time in the National Guard brings with it the risk of serious physical injury, disfigurement, or death, especially during wartime. For those with families, becoming a part-time soldier is a serious decision that brings with it many grave responsibilities related to personal sacrifice.

About the Author

Sean Mullin has been creating online content since 2007. He also worked in an online writing center for college students. In addition to writing, Sean has a Master of Arts in classics and teaches Greek and Latin part-time at the college level.