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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November’s Hot Job is … 35P Cryptologic Linguist

Each month throughout 2015, On Your Guard is spotlighting a “hot job.” What defines these featured jobs as “hot”? One all-important benchmark: number of times people searched for it on the National Guard jobs board. So, here’s what’s hot for November.

Do you love foreign languages and have an analytical side too? If so, you might want to consider training to become a 35P Cryptologic Linguist in the Army National Guard.

This job plays a critical role in the Nation’s defense. You’ll use specialized signals equipment to eavesdrop on the enemy and exploit its communications to provide intelligence.

In this military occupational specialty (MOS), you’ll provide transcripts and translations, so good reading and writing skills are essential. The job goes beyond just translating what’s being said and that’s where analysis comes into play. You’ll need to understand context and intent to help provide mission support.

Watch this video about the 35P MOS to get a first-hand look at what cryptologic linguists do, and then read more about training and the benefits of serving in the National Guard.

The Guard will provide the training you need every step of the way to be successful in this MOS. After basic training, you’ll have anywhere from six to 52 weeks of advanced individual training (AIT), depending on the language. This on-the-job instruction in the field and the classroom takes place at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas.

Those who aren’t fluent in a foreign language will need to attend training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., for six to 18 months before they can attend AIT.

This MOS can translate to a civilian career as a translator or linguist for Government agencies, embassies, universities and companies that conduct business overseas.

By serving part-time in the National Guard, you’ll be eligible for benefits like money for college and health and life insurance.

If you think you have what it takes to provide critical information in defense of the country, visit our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.


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ESBs Rock, at Home and on the Battlefield

A blizzard with 40 mph winds blasts 30 inches of snow and ice across a major metropolitan area that already had significant accumulation. The situation is dire: Snow drifts have trapped people in their homes, and the roadways are riddled with accidents and stranded vehicles.

Emergency personnel are activated, the Army National Guard is called up to help, and then … power blacks out across the region, major communications systems go down, even cellular towers are affected. Emergency response grinds to a halt.

Unless … the Guard had already sent in its Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB). Sure, the city’s major systems would still be down. But since ESB personnel deployed with their vehicles equipped with power generators, satellite uplink terminals, network nodal systems — you get the picture — emergency telecommunications and computer transmissions can continue uninterrupted.

Major Aaron Radlinski, who is currently standing up a new ESB for the Michigan National Guard, says these are the same self-sufficient mobile units that go out ahead of the troops to establish battlefield communications in the harshest of environments.

With Michigan’s previous ESB having been stood down 12 years ago, MAJ Radlinski says he feels fortunate that he was chosen to stand up the new 156th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. A former Signal Officer in the Army, he joined the Guard in 2005 after returning from Iraq and is currently the full-time officer in charge of the 177th Police Brigade. The 156th will be subordinate to the 177th when it is fully operational this September.

In the months leading up to the battalion’s official standup date, MAJ Radlinski says they are gathering and training 490 mostly part-time Guard personnel to staff several ESB companies. He says the great part about being trained in one of the many ESB military occupational specialties (MOS) for the Guard is that Soldiers can then apply those skills to get full-time civilian jobs working for large communications providers. Depending on the MOS, they might do things like troubleshoot networks, install fiber optics, build cell towers, maintain communications providers’ vehicles, etc.

Whether you live in Michigan and want to train for one of these new ESB positions or you live in a completely different State that has an Expeditionary Signal Battalion, here are the main types of positions you could train for (click the links to see open positions across the Nation and read MOS job descriptions):

25B Information Technology Specialist

25C Radio Operator-Maintainer

25D Cyber Network Defender

25E Electromagnetic Spectrum Manager

25F Network Switching Systems Operator-Maintainer

25L Cable Systems Installer-Maintainer

25M Multimedia Illustrator

25N Nodal Network Systems Operator-Maintainer

25P Microwave Systems Operator-Maintainer

25Q Multichannel Transmission Systems Operator-Maintainer

25R Visual Information Equipment Operator-Maintainer

25S Satellite Communication Systems Operator-Maintainer

25U Signal Support Systems Specialist

25V Combat Documentation/Production Specialist

MAJ Radlinski also mentions that most signal Soldiers have to obtain Secret or Top Secret clearances, which is valuable when seeking civilian employment at certain companies, especially Federal Government contractors.

Just as valuable, he says, are the rewards of a part-time commitment in the Guard. “The Guard is a unique organization. You’re not only called upon for your country, but you’re also called upon to help your neighbors, your friends, and your family. That’s very rewarding.”

After you’ve explored our jobs board and decided which signal battalion MOS you’d like to pursue, contact a recruiter to learn about all the other great benefits the Guard offers, like money for college, affordable healthcare, and more.

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