No Monkey Business: The Guard Has the Best Barracks in the Business

A Soldier with her daughters outside their home waving a U.S. flag Here’s a quick quiz. Which of the following is not a benefit of serving in the Army National Guard?

  1. Money for college tuition and books
  2. Career training in one of 200 fields
  3. Low-cost home loans
  4. A free pet monkey

The Guard gives away pet monkeys? How awesome …

Er, no. It doesn’t.

Seriously. A pet monkey is NOT – repeat, NOT – a benefit of Guard service. But it just seems unbelievable that fantastic financing options for a home loan would be.

Most people know that the Guard has programs and services that can cover up to 100 percent of college tuition, fees, and books. Most know that it takes hundreds of career specialties to make the Guard run smoothly and each Soldier specializes in one. But far fewer know of the Guard’s domestic side … the one that includes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Program that can help you buy a home in addition to giving you the time to spend there through part-time National Guard service.

The home loan program is designed to remove some of the common preliminary roadblocks to home ownership by saying VA has your back financially speaking: 

  • Roadblock number one: Generally, lenders want the buyer/borrower to have 20 percent or more of the cost of the house available for down payment. And with the cost of real estate these days, that could be quite a chunk of change (that’s $20,000 for a $100,000 home). A Guard member who meets the Home Loan Program requirements may qualify for a loan with little or no down payment.
  • Roadblock number two: First-time borrowers are often saddled with higher interest rates which can add thousands of dollars to the price of a home over the life of a loan. VA guarantees low interest loans for eligible Guard members so that private banks see them as low-risk borrowers.

So rather than waiting years to buy that dream home, just add it to the list of things you can gain from part-time National Guard service: College, career, service, discount shopping, low-cost health and life insurance, retirement programs, and, now, the best barracks anywhere – your own home.

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Three Ways to Continue Your Service Part-time

Three Special Forces Soldiers trainingYou’ve separated from the military. That’s no easy decision and we’re sure you have your reasons. Thing is, now you’re realizing that as much as you were a part of the service, the service was a part of you. And like anything that’s become a part of you, it can be difficult, even painful, to separate from it.

You thought you’d concentrate on your degree, your career, your family, or work on your golf game. Whatever it is, you do your thing. You do it well. After all, you learned discipline in the service. You learned determination in the service. You learned the value of a job well done in the service.

No wonder your mind wanders back to your time in the service. Is that just sentimentalism or the realization that you’re not quite ready to give it all up? Maybe you miss the camaraderie or the military discounts and benefits. Maybe you regret not finishing out your 20 years to get a great pension down the road.

Only you know for sure, but your service need not end after separation from active duty, reserve duty, or Guard service. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can have your cake and eat it, too, as a Prior Service Soldier serving part-time in the Army National Guard.

Just check out these opportunities for those with prior military experience.

Signals Intelligence: Information – or as we refer to it, intelligence – is a vital commodity in the military, and the ability to collect and interpret it in a timely fashion is just as critical. Technology plays a major role in this process. Even if you didn’t work in this MOS during your previous service tenure, your military-centric knowledge and experience creates a solid foundation on which we can build.

Special Forces: The Guard’s Special Forces units are, simply put, intense. Designed exclusively for the toughest of the tough, Special Forces units cater to those who are, or desire to be, elite. Your military knowledge and experience will translate directly into your training and advanced duties in this highly exclusive MOS.

Warrant Officer: Warrant Officers are the best in their fields. Period. As a Warrant Officer, you can continue your service by becoming the Guard’s technical expert in a specific area of expertise. While branch officers will manage the day-to-day operations of a unit, you will specialize in your field and provide that expertise to both enlisted personnel and officers. And your prior service credentials will certainly give you a leg up on the preparation for this demanding but rewarding career path.

So if you’ve been waxing nostalgic for your time in uniform, the Army National Guard could be the perfect way for you to get the best of both worlds: serving part-time with the Guard, and achieving all those other things you’ve wanted to do.

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Three Ways to Use Your IT Skills in the National Guard

Two Soldiers At a Computer Workstation To say that technology has played a huge role in shaping society would be a gross understatement, especially in terms of communications. As far back as the 1440’s when moveable type for the printing press gave rise to the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, new technologies have spurred the growth of human knowledge and capability.

Nowadays, you barely even have to think to name the major players in the technology game: Apple. AT&T. Comcast. Dell. Facebook. Google. IBM. Intel. Microsoft. NASA. Samsung. Sony. Verizon. Xerox. YouTube. That’s just a few of them.

And for every one of these tech giants, there are a host of other entities providing everything from hardware to software to research to Internet access to multimedia content to lightning-fast communication. It’s safe to say there are no signs of this growth abating.

What’s that mean? Job opportunities. And lots of them. But only for those with proper training. You can qualify yourself to access this ample job market by serving part-time in the Army National Guard. Check out these high-tech Guard career fields that will allow you to use and develop your IT skills:

Information Technology Specialist: Computers are the one truly ubiquitous tool used by every industry everywhere. They are so pervasive, you likely don’t even remember a world without them (ask your parents, they’ll tell you). If that’s the case, you’re what we call a digital native. And if you’ve embraced technology as a hobby, interest, or passion, we want you in the Guard taking care of our military computer systems and operations.

Communications Systems: Do you have what it takes to keep the Guard talking? Then put your IT skills to work beyond conventional network maintenance. In the Guard, opportunities abound in the communications realm, including Satellite Microwave Systems, Multichannel Transmission Systems, Nodal Network Systems, and Network Switching Systems.

Intelligence Operative: Turn “Information Technology” into “Intelligence Technology” by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting primarily through digital means. As a Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer/Integrator, Signals Collector/Analyst, Cryptologic Communications Interceptor/Locator, or Signals Intelligence Analyst, your digital savvy will be used to keep military decision makers informed and up to date about enemy communications, troop placement, and intentions.

These are just a few of the many career paths you can walk by serving part-time in the Guard. Search for these or any other positions by keyword, category, city, or State at the National Guard job board.

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