Guard Spotlight: Stateside Missions

Army National Guard Works to Secure the Homeland

Joining the Army National Guard appealed to Specialist (SPC) Alan Wainright because he could stay close to where he grew up in North Carolina, and not move from place to place every few years like full-time military service members do. 

The National Guard is unique in that 84 percent of its members serve in a part-time status close to where they live, and because this branch of the military fulfills a dual mission of serving the country and serving the community. A governor or the president can call up the Guard at a moment’s notice to help with homeland emergencies.

While SPC Wainright has not deployed overseas in his five years with the Guard, he is fresh off two back-to-back stateside missions in North Carolina this fall, working riot control in Charlotte in late September, and then helping out during Hurricane Matthew and the residual flooding it caused further inland earlier this month.

SPC Wainright, like all Guard members, goes where he is called, but because of his training in security and law enforcement as a 31B- Military Policeman, his role during the flooding was less about rescuing stranded residents, providing them with necessities like food and water, or storm cleanup.

“Our mission up there was more to protect buildings from looting. We did help out fire and rescue because we had thermals and night vision, but that wasn’t our main mission.”

Looting turned out not to be a problem in the Lumberton, N.C., area during the flooding. That was also the case when SPC Wainright was called up to help with riot control in Charlotte for about a week. By that time, local police had back-up from state police and the Guard.

“It’s amazing when you’ve got a lot more eyes and hands on deck, stuff like [looting] doesn’t go down.”

Demonstrators in Charlotte were protesting the death of Keith Lamont Scott, an African American man who was shot by a city policeman. Police said Scott was armed with a gun and did not comply with their orders. Scott’s family said he was unarmed.

SPC Wainright said most of the resentment protestors expressed was directed at local law enforcement rather than Guard Soldiers.

“They were mostly friendly,” he says. “You had a few that got a little mouthy and wanted to talk junk, but for the most part they respected us and left us alone.”

Some of the other Guard work SPC Wainright has done in his home State is to provide traffic control for races and security when the Democratic National Convention came to Charlotte in 2012.

Unlike most of his fellow Soldiers, SPC Wainright works full-time for the Guard. He is part of a mobile recruiting team out of Raleigh, N.C. That means he gets lot of questions about joining the Guard and what he likes best about it, which is:

“The benefits and also just traveling. I’ve seen a lot of different States and a lot of different things that I wouldn’t have seen if I wasn’t with them.”

So, if you’d like to learn more about the Guard’s benefits or one of the careers you can pursue, check our job board or contact your local recruiter.

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Always Ready, Always There Reflects Guard’s Ability to Change with Times

An organization that is actually older than the country it serves could not have survived for nearly 380 years without being able to change with the times.

The Army National Guard, which will celebrate this milestone birthday on Dec. 13, continues to live up to its motto of “Always Ready, Always There” by adding new areas of focus and new career opportunities that reflect national trends. We at On Your Guard thought we’d take a look back at new initiatives and changes that got under way over the course of the past year.

Because cybersecurity is a top concern for anyone who uses technology, the Guard began focusing on standing up 10 Cyber Protection Teams in an effort to help the Nation better defend against cyber attacks. When we spoke with LTC Matt Chytka last fall, he anticipated Guard careers in technology and intelligence would continue to grow, just as they have in the private sector. 

National Guard Soldiers.LTC Chytka said the Guard was uniquely qualified to improve the country’s “cyber posture,” due to the fact that service is part-time, which allows a Citizen-Soldier® to attend school or work full- time in a private sector career.

“We have a very strong ability versus our active duty brethren to attract, and, particularly, to retain, highly skilled cyber military professionals that the Nation requires in order to maintain a keen cyber edge and superiority in the cyberspace realm,” he said.

While the Guard expands its career opportunities in STEM, it is also opening up more jobs to women.

The Guard, along with every other branch of the U.S. military, started seeing new faces in different roles last year as the Department of Defense (DoD) loosened restrictions regarding women serving in combat roles. Ultimately, the DoD announced in late 2015 that all military combat jobs, without exception, would be open to women who met the qualifications, like 2LT Tracci Dorgan-Bandy, who became the first female artillery officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard.

For her, a combat-oriented job was just one more area where she could prove herself and excel. Her previous Guard military occupational specialties (MOSs) included 25P Microwave Systems Operator/Maintainer and photojournalist.

“The Guard has opened so many doors for me, so many opportunities. I’ve never had anybody shut a door in my face in the Guard,” she said.

With more than 150 career fields to choose from, many of the Citizen-Soldiers we’ve interviewed say they appreciate the chance to move into career fields that might be completely different than their previous MOS, like SFC William Bart, who went into marketing and recruiting for the Alaska Guard after serving for years as 31B Military Police, which is one of the most searched for careers on our job board.

“You set your own destiny as far as your career goes,” SFC Bart said.

Of course, the best place to start thinking about your career destiny is to take a look at our job board, where you can search by keyword or location. You can also search by category, broadly defined as Administrative, Armor and Field Artillery, Aviation, Engineer, Infantry, Logistics Support, Mechanic and Maintenance, Medical, Military Police, Signal and Military Intelligence, and Transportation.

And for one-on-one advice, or answers to any questions you might have, contact a recruiter.

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This Soldier Says: When it Comes to Career, You Set Your Own Destiny

SFC William "Dale" Bart

SFC William "Dale" Bart

Growing up “pretty much dirt poor” on a farm in West Virginia, a young William “Dale” Bart wouldn’t have dreamed he would go to Panama, Honduras, Bosnia, and Iraq; learn Arabic; or pack up and move thousands of miles from home to Alaska.

But as an adult, this is what he believes: “You set your own destiny as far as your career goes. Where you came from doesn’t matter at all. It’s who you are and what you strive to become.”

This philosophy serves Sergeant First Class Bart well in his position as a Recruiting and Retention Section Chief for the Alaska Army National Guard. His job is to reach out to 17- to 24-year-olds and introduce them to the Guard way of life — which is all about serving the country and serving one’s community while pursuing a degree and/or a full-time civilian career.

The opportunities that come with that part-time service have led to a full-time career in the Guard for SFC Bart, who joined nearly 19 years ago at age 17. After attending a presentation by a recruiter who happened to be his Pee Wee football coach, he decided Guard life was a good fit: He could attend a local college while serving part-time.

When he joined, SFC Bart chose 31B-Military Police as his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Guard trainings and deployments took him to a number of countries, including Iraq, where he trained Iraqi police officers and learned enough Arabic to become a “novice conversationalist.”

He also pursued law enforcement as his civilian career working with the Richmond (Va.) City Sheriff’s Department and was able to arrange an interstate transfer to the Virginia National Guard so that both of his jobs would be located closer together.

But after years of working against narcotics and gangs (“I got to see a whole lot of the bad.”), SFC Bart signed up immediately when the opportunity to become a full-time Guard recruiter became available in 2009.

“I saw I could change young people’s lives in a positive way instead of always affecting them in a negative way when they’re on the wrong side of the law.”

In 2013, after leading his State in recruitment for three years, he learned of an opening for the Senior Marketing Non-Commissioned Officer position in Alaska. He has since gone back to recruiting, but because both jobs focus on promoting the benefits of Guard service, both roles were a natural fit.

One of the biggest advantages to Guard service, he says, is money for college.

“I’m actually still using my college benefits today,” he says of the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice he’s pursuing online from Thomas Edison State College.

The leadership skills that the military instills in its Soldiers are also invaluable, Bart says, because you learn how to be part of a team and how to manage people.

He explains that being a Guardsman makes you a “valuable asset to any civilian career field, whether it’s being a manager at McDonald’s, up to being CEO at a company. Once you learn to be a leader, you’re a leader in every aspect of life.”

Other positives are the camaraderie Soldiers develop with each other — that’s how SFC Bart landed his first civilian police job.

“That person that you’re serving with all weekend might be able to open you up to a job opportunity.”

But most important is this: “You get to serve your country and your community. Sure, it’s part-time service, but you’re still a part of something bigger than yourself: You get to affect the lives of your neighbors in a positive way.”

His advice to anyone considering the Guard is an emphatic, “Do it.”

“I have 18 years, 11 months of service, and I would not give a day of service back to win a million dollars. I wouldn’t trade any of the things I’ve been able to experience and learn, or the people I’ve been exposed to.”

If you’d like to gain all the benefits of part-time service with the National Guard, check out our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

 

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