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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May’s Hot Job Is … 31B Military Police

Now that On Your Guard is back online, we plan to pick one hot job each month throughout 2015 and tell you a bit about it. What defines each featured job as “hot”? One all-important benchmark: number of times people searched for it on the National Guard jobs board. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

 

For anyone thinking about starting down a law enforcement or security services career path, the 31B-Military Police military occupational specialty (MOS) in the Army National Guard may well be the best first step possible. In fact, 31B is, hands down, the most searched for MOS on the jobs board.

Just like their civilian counterparts, military police, or MPs, are called upon to preserve law and order. That means preventing and investigating crimes, providing surveillance, gathering evidence, patrolling the base, controlling crowds, and providing security to keep the peace. They also respond to natural disasters and other emergencies on the home front.

Besides its primary mission to serve local communities, the National Guard is also called upon to serve the Nation. Military police who are called to active duty in a war zone support battlefield operations. This could include working with intelligence officers to deal with prisoners of war and guarding senior officers. The Guard’s military police also have been called upon to train police forces in other countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking of training, 31Bs attend 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, followed by 8-10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training for their MOS. Advanced training includes both classroom and in-the-field instruction, and you’ll learn how to conduct police work, from crowd control techniques to how to restrain suspects and investigate crimes. The Guard also offers MPs additional opportunities for specialized training, such as an Interviewing and Interrogation Course and an Active Shooter Response Course.

The National Guard is a part-time commitment, which allows Soldiers to simultaneously serve and work toward a degree and/or pursue a civilian career. So, once you’re finished with Basic and Advanced training, you’ll have time to take advantage of the Guard’s outstanding education benefits, like tuition assistance and the Montgomery GI Bill. From there, you’ll be able to combine that education with the experience you’ll have as an MP to become an excellent law enforcement/security job candidate.

Plus, as SPC Stephen Strebinger explains in this video, MP training can give you a better feel for what area of civilian police work you want to pursue. He says he’s working toward a degree in criminal justice, and “the Guard’s paying for me to get there.”

For more information about how you can join the Guard’s military police, or learn more about any of its 200 career fields, visit the National Guard jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

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