Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:05 pm

Hello,
I have been thinking about joining the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve as an Officer. I am 31 and have two kids, and have a good paying job. Not sure if it is a crazy idea, would like to know your feedback on it. Pretty sure there are some folks here who have served or currently serving, would like to hear your thoughts.
Thank you,
AJM

riots_rus
Posts: 75
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by riots_rus » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:07 pm

Why do you want to join?

stoptothink
Posts: 7877
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:15 pm

I was actually in a very similar position at almost the exact same age. Many members of my family had served and I just felt something was "missing" in my life. I can tell you the conversation I had with the recruiter:

Stoptothink, you have a young family, a PhD, and make good money; my job is to recruit people to join the military, but we really have almost nothing to offer you. So, why?

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:30 pm

riots_rus wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:07 pm
Why do you want to join?
It has been my dream since I came to US in 2012, but having a Masters degree, I did not want to enlist. And I could not be an Officer candidate till last year when I became a citizen. There are couple of reasons why I want to join:
1. Military life has always fascinated me but never got an opportunity due to migrating and family depending on me to settle by getting a job
2. I belong to a minority and there are not much military people in my community - mainly because no one to guide them. I would like to be in the military and be a guide and mentor to many young people who I am sure have similar interests

livesoft
Posts: 72123
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm

That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm

livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:38 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:15 pm
I was actually in a very similar position at almost the exact same age. Many members of my family had served and I just felt something was "missing" in my life. I can tell you the conversation I had with the recruiter:

Stoptothink, you have a young family, a PhD, and make good money; my job is to recruit people to join the military, but we really have almost nothing to offer you. So, why?
Did you join?

oldfort
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by oldfort » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:42 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.
I have a lot of real life experience with the military. If you really, truly want to serve in the military, go active duty. Don't be a weekend warrior. If you're not interested in the military enough to make it a full time job, don't give away one weekend every month and two weeks of your time every year. Your time is valuable. The National Guard is great for someone finishing high school, who wants their college paid for. This isn't you.
Last edited by oldfort on Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

stoptothink
Posts: 7877
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:43 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:38 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:15 pm
I was actually in a very similar position at almost the exact same age. Many members of my family had served and I just felt something was "missing" in my life. I can tell you the conversation I had with the recruiter:

Stoptothink, you have a young family, a PhD, and make good money; my job is to recruit people to join the military, but we really have almost nothing to offer you. So, why?
Did you join?
No. Like you, I had two young kids and there was almost nothing they could offer me that I didn't already have access to.

hidradenitis
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hidradenitis » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:45 pm

For what it's worth, I've got about 20 years in the military split between active Air Force and the Air National Guard. I'm happy with my experiences overall and have had opportunities to do and see things I never would have been able to have done otherwise. My unit is very good and I am surrounded by high quality people. This has not always been the case. If I had to do it over again I would. I enjoy the National Guard more than my active time. Your mileage may vary.

Globalviewer58
Posts: 559
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by Globalviewer58 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:48 pm

Here’s a link to a website describing US Air Force commissioned officer roles. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/unite ... ns-3356686

Which roles are you qualified for or interested in pursuing? Have you identified specific Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard units in your vicinity? This will further inform your options unless you plan to relocate to fill an open slot.

User avatar
djmbob
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:16 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by djmbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:58 pm

I served over 34 years in the Air Force both active and Reserve and it was great! My father was a career officer so I grew up in that world.

What is your PhD in?

If science or engineering, there will be more opportunities in the Air Force Reserve that would be preferable than the National Guard.

Cheers,
Ray

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:58 pm

Globalviewer58 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:48 pm
Here’s a link to a website describing US Air Force commissioned officer roles. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/unite ... ns-3356686

Which roles are you qualified for or interested in pursuing? Have you identified specific Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard units in your vicinity? This will further inform your options unless you plan to relocate to fill an open slot.
Thank you for the link :)

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:58 pm

djmbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:58 pm
I served over 34 years in the Air Force both active and Reserve and it was great! My father was a career officer so I grew up in that world.

What is your PhD in?

If science or engineering, there will be more opportunities in the Air Force Reserve that would be preferable than the National Guard.

Cheers,
Ray
I have an undergrad in Engineering and MBA.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:59 pm

oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:42 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.
I have a lot of real life experience with the military. If you really, truly want to serve in the military, go active duty. Don't be a weekend warrior. If you're not interested in the military enough to make it a full time job, don't give away one weekend every month and two weeks of your time every year. Your time is valuable. The National Guard is great for someone finishing high school, who wants their college paid for. This isn't you.
Valid point. Thank you for the feedback.

bampf
Posts: 528
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:19 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by bampf » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:05 pm

oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:42 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.
I have a lot of real life experience with the military. If you really, truly want to serve in the military, go active duty. Don't be a weekend warrior. If you're not interested in the military enough to make it a full time job, don't give away one weekend every month and two weeks of your time every year. Your time is valuable. The National Guard is great for someone finishing high school, who wants their college paid for. This isn't you.
I don't agree with this. I have served and I spent quite a bit of time in the guard. It isn't as simple as "go active duty". There are a lot of missions that are interesting and compelling that the guard can help fulfill. I think active duty is great. Its a hard life. I think the guard is great, it can be even harder on you than active duty (at least while you are in uniform). I miss the days where I served and I miss the shared sense of purpose and the connectivity to my community that the guard gave me. I didn't love every minute of time in the military, but, I always felt like it was worth my time.

User avatar
mrspock
Posts: 1084
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:49 am
Location: Vulcan

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by mrspock » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:13 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:05 pm
Hello,
I have been thinking about joining the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve as an Officer. I am 31 and have two kids, and have a good paying job. Not sure if it is a crazy idea, would like to know your feedback on it. Pretty sure there are some folks here who have served or currently serving, would like to hear your thoughts.
Thank you,
AJM
Why not join in a full-time civilian capacity? This might be a good middle ground.

hidradenitis
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hidradenitis » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:19 pm

bampf wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:05 pm
oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:42 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.
I have a lot of real life experience with the military. If you really, truly want to serve in the military, go active duty. Don't be a weekend warrior. If you're not interested in the military enough to make it a full time job, don't give away one weekend every month and two weeks of your time every year. Your time is valuable. The National Guard is great for someone finishing high school, who wants their college paid for. This isn't you.
I don't agree with this. I have served and I spent quite a bit of time in the guard. It isn't as simple as "go active duty". There are a lot of missions that are interesting and compelling that the guard can help fulfill. I think active duty is great. Its a hard life. I think the guard is great, it can be even harder on you than active duty (at least while you are in uniform). I miss the days where I served and I miss the shared sense of purpose and the connectivity to my community that the guard gave me. I didn't love every minute of time in the military, but, I always felt like it was worth my time.
I agree - the Guard is not 'AF lite' - it has separate missions and structure for a reason and is better suited for some missions than active duty. Both are demanding.

Commanders in the Guard have the advantage of having much more flexibility in terms of who they hire. If possible, find out which unit you would want to be a part of, meet with the people doing your job, and kick the tires. The active duty side is much larger and consequently it is much more difficult (if not impossible) for new accessions to join a particular unit.

I advise against using your recruiter as a means of getting information about what the job entails. Find someone with the job you want and talk with them in depth about it. The ideal role of the recruiter is to facilitate your entry once you know what you want to do.
Last edited by hidradenitis on Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6353
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by Kenkat » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:20 pm

I would also consider that you could be deployed at short notice anywhere in the world. I greatly admire your desire to serve but it is a big decision for one with a job and family.

User avatar
djmbob
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:16 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by djmbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:23 pm

I have an undergrad in Engineering and MBA.
A Engineering is perfect, a Masters in Engineering even better, but you could still check into engineering or acquisition fields.

Here is a link https://afreserve.com/developmental-engineer and another https://afreserve.com/acquisition-managerto some Air Force Reserve job info for Engineering backgrounds.

I used to be assigned to Air Force Systems Command (before it merged with Air Force Material Command) as an Assignments Officer and Reserve Advisor. They do the engineering and procurement for Air Force systems.

Such an assignment is typically as an "Individual Mobilization Augmentee" (IMA) and that obligation is 12 days a year plus 2 weeks. You are typically paired with an active duty officer. What is nice about it is that it usually isn't the typical weekend "one day a month". More often, you might go in once a quarter and work several days at a time, usually during the week. Often can volunteer for additional time, depending on how supportive your civilian employer is. However, if you do join, employers have specific obligations under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act" (USERRA) where they cannot disallow or take actions against you due to your military duty, and most of your civilian benefits continue to accrue during your military duty. [Full disclosure: I am a volunteer Ombudsman with the DoD Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) which works with employers having Guard/Reserve employees and USERRA law].

Happy to chat with you more if you want - just PM me.
Cheers
Ray

oldfort
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by oldfort » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:29 pm

bampf wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:05 pm
oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:42 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.
I have a lot of real life experience with the military. If you really, truly want to serve in the military, go active duty. Don't be a weekend warrior. If you're not interested in the military enough to make it a full time job, don't give away one weekend every month and two weeks of your time every year. Your time is valuable. The National Guard is great for someone finishing high school, who wants their college paid for. This isn't you.
I don't agree with this. I have served and I spent quite a bit of time in the guard. It isn't as simple as "go active duty". There are a lot of missions that are interesting and compelling that the guard can help fulfill. I think active duty is great. Its a hard life. I think the guard is great, it can be even harder on you than active duty (at least while you are in uniform). I miss the days where I served and I miss the shared sense of purpose and the connectivity to my community that the guard gave me. I didn't love every minute of time in the military, but, I always felt like it was worth my time.
The national guard has dual missions. One is to respond to domestic situations: fires, floods, hurricanes, and riots. The other is the military function. Absent a unit being mobilized and deployed, the net contribution of the National Guard to the military may be considered de minimis. I've heard it argued fairly persuasively in terms of the day to day mission, it would be more efficient to get rid of the Guard and use the money toward a larger active duty force. There's a lot of overhead: OPRs/EPRs, PT tests, awards, mandatory training, mission training, and so on, to get someone in only one weekend a month. The National Guard does provide a pool of potentially deployable people. Is the OP willing to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever our next Middle East war is? How does his wife feel about combat deployments?

User avatar
djpeteski
Posts: 974
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by djpeteski » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:38 pm

The Air Guard may be different but I was a Army Guard officer in the 90's. This was during the time of the first Gulf War and reductions in full time military units. Many National Guard units were designated as "Round Out" units, basically we could take the place of full time units if needed.

The bottom line is that we were really busy. At least two weekends per month, leadership meetings during the week, phone call, etc... The weekends were mostly MUTA-5's which meant we started Friday night and got back on Sunday night. Very little rest for the weary. Standards were very high, with full time Army inspectors who had no respect for your civilian job.

There were parts that I absolutely loved, but the time commitment became too much and I had to quit. This and I was not deployed overseas, and more importantly did not "hear a shot fired in anger". I was deployed to fight forest fires, which was tough but cool.

This is really something you need to consider, if you join you will probably be deployed, overseas, within a short time of being commissioned. A lot of those guys come back with a strong desire to take their own life. Do you want that for yourself or your family? It is not just the infantry guys that come back with PTSD, in fact some studies show that rear echelon types have a more severe reaction to combat stress.

Great respect if you decide to move forward with your decision, but please do not make the decision lightly. Keep in mind your unit could be deployed to defend against the latest protest group about some injustice. How do you handle that? How do you lead men who's real careers are short order cooks or truck drivers and they have to quell a riot? It is not easy.

This past month I raised money for an organization that address this directly called Stop Solider Suicide. Please consider giving if you have a soft spot for veterans.
Last edited by djpeteski on Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hidradenitis
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hidradenitis » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm

oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:29 pm
bampf wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:05 pm
oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:42 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:37 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:34 pm
That's a rather romantic notion about the military. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever happens to you.
Why would you say that? And if you have real life experience, please share it.
I have a lot of real life experience with the military. If you really, truly want to serve in the military, go active duty. Don't be a weekend warrior. If you're not interested in the military enough to make it a full time job, don't give away one weekend every month and two weeks of your time every year. Your time is valuable. The National Guard is great for someone finishing high school, who wants their college paid for. This isn't you.
I don't agree with this. I have served and I spent quite a bit of time in the guard. It isn't as simple as "go active duty". There are a lot of missions that are interesting and compelling that the guard can help fulfill. I think active duty is great. Its a hard life. I think the guard is great, it can be even harder on you than active duty (at least while you are in uniform). I miss the days where I served and I miss the shared sense of purpose and the connectivity to my community that the guard gave me. I didn't love every minute of time in the military, but, I always felt like it was worth my time.
The national guard has dual missions. One is to respond to domestic situations: fires, floods, hurricanes, and riots. The other is the military function. Absent a unit being mobilized and deployed, the net contribution of the National Guard to the military may be considered de minimis. I've heard it argued fairly persuasively in terms of the day to day mission, it would be more efficient to get rid of the Guard and use the money toward a larger active duty force. There's a lot of overhead: OPRs/EPRs, PT tests, awards, mandatory training, mission training, and so on, to get someone in only one weekend a month. The National Guard does provide a pool of potentially deployable people. Is the OP willing to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever our next Middle East war is? How does his wife feel about combat deployments?
We'll have to agree to disagree about the value of the Guard. I could make a persuasive argument about how certain military functions are performed much more efficiently and better than the AD counterpart, but I'd rather not identify my role or unit, and this is off topic from the OP's question.

In regard to your second point, anyone considering joining the military in any capacity should be prepared for deployments, regardless of likelihood.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm

mrspock wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:13 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:05 pm
Hello,
I have been thinking about joining the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve as an Officer. I am 31 and have two kids, and have a good paying job. Not sure if it is a crazy idea, would like to know your feedback on it. Pretty sure there are some folks here who have served or currently serving, would like to hear your thoughts.
Thank you,
AJM
Why not join in a full-time civilian capacity? This might be a good middle ground.
What is that?

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:41 pm

djmbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:23 pm
I have an undergrad in Engineering and MBA.
A Engineering is perfect, a Masters in Engineering even better, but you could still check into engineering or acquisition fields.

Here is a link https://afreserve.com/developmental-engineer and another https://afreserve.com/acquisition-managerto some Air Force Reserve job info for Engineering backgrounds.

I used to be assigned to Air Force Systems Command (before it merged with Air Force Material Command) as an Assignments Officer and Reserve Advisor. They do the engineering and procurement for Air Force systems.

Such an assignment is typically as an "Individual Mobilization Augmentee" (IMA) and that obligation is 12 days a year plus 2 weeks. You are typically paired with an active duty officer. What is nice about it is that it usually isn't the typical weekend "one day a month". More often, you might go in once a quarter and work several days at a time, usually during the week. Often can volunteer for additional time, depending on how supportive your civilian employer is. However, if you do join, employers have specific obligations under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act" (USERRA) where they cannot disallow or take actions against you due to your military duty, and most of your civilian benefits continue to accrue during your military duty. [Full disclosure: I am a volunteer Ombudsman with the DoD Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) which works with employers having Guard/Reserve employees and USERRA law].

Happy to chat with you more if you want - just PM me.
Cheers
Ray
I will PM you. Thanks for sharing the information :)

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:45 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:38 pm
The Air Guard may be different but I was a Army Guard officer in the 90's. This was during the time of the first Gulf War and reductions in full time military units. Many National Guard units were designated as "Round Out" units, basically we could take the place of full time units if needed.

The bottom line is that we were really busy. At least two weekends per month, leadership meetings during the week, phone call, etc... The weekends were mostly MUTA-5's which meant we started Friday night and got back on Sunday night. Very little rest for the weary. Standards were very high, with full time Army inspectors who had no respect for your civilian job.

There were parts that I absolutely loved, but the time commitment became too much and I had to quit. This and I was not deployed overseas, and more importantly did not "hear a shot fired in anger". I was deployed to fight forest fires, which was tough but cool.

This is really something you need to consider, if you join you will probably be deployed, overseas, within a short time of being commissioned. A lot of those guys come back with a strong desire to take their own life. Do you want that for yourself or your family? It is not just the infantry guys that come back with PTSD, in fact some studies show that rear echelon types have a more severe reaction to combat stress.

Great respect if you decide to move forward with your decision, but please do not make the decision lightly. Keep in mind your unit could be deployed to defend against the latest protest group about some injustice. How do you handle that? How do you lead men who's real careers are short order cooks or truck drivers and they have to quell a riot? It is not easy.

This past month I raised money for an organization that address this directly called Stop Solider Suicide. Please consider giving if you have a soft spot for veterans.
Yeah I have hard Army national guard was really hard. It is like having two jobs. I have not heard similar experiences with Air National Guard though. Could be the difference in the area they operate?

Mr. Rumples
Posts: 913
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:16 am

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by Mr. Rumples » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:46 pm

About half of the states have an active state defense force (SDF). These are military units which operate under the sole authority of state government. It is different than the national guard and each state has different requirements for enlistment. They may not be ordered or drafted into the federal armed services.

Here is a link about the Virginia Defense Force:

https://vdf.virginia.gov

I don't know about other states, but in VA, every person between 16 and 55 is by law enlisted in the Unorganized State Militia (established in 1607; George Washington was a colonel in the militia). In actuality, its composed by volunteers and was last called up in 2017 for traffic control to free up State Police. Virginia has a Department of Military Affairs. If your state has such an agency, they might be able to help. It is an honor to serve and you may find it will give a feeling of completeness as part of the community.

Note that the VDF has adopted the U.S. Department of Defense’s military pay scale based on rank. Members are not paid for monthly drills or field training exercises. Again, not sure about other states.
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:41 pm
djmbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:23 pm
I have an undergrad in Engineering and MBA.
A Engineering is perfect, a Masters in Engineering even better, but you could still check into engineering or acquisition fields.

Here is a link https://afreserve.com/developmental-engineer and another https://afreserve.com/acquisition-managerto some Air Force Reserve job info for Engineering backgrounds.

I used to be assigned to Air Force Systems Command (before it merged with Air Force Material Command) as an Assignments Officer and Reserve Advisor. They do the engineering and procurement for Air Force systems.

Such an assignment is typically as an "Individual Mobilization Augmentee" (IMA) and that obligation is 12 days a year plus 2 weeks. You are typically paired with an active duty officer. What is nice about it is that it usually isn't the typical weekend "one day a month". More often, you might go in once a quarter and work several days at a time, usually during the week. Often can volunteer for additional time, depending on how supportive your civilian employer is. However, if you do join, employers have specific obligations under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act" (USERRA) where they cannot disallow or take actions against you due to your military duty, and most of your civilian benefits continue to accrue during your military duty. [Full disclosure: I am a volunteer Ombudsman with the DoD Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) which works with employers having Guard/Reserve employees and USERRA law].

Happy to chat with you more if you want - just PM me.
Cheers
Ray
I will PM you. Thanks for sharing the information :)
I am not able to PM you since you have disabled that feature.

IRT
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by IRT » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm

Great advice being shared, I'll offer my 2-cents as someone with prior experience in the guard and from a family of guardsman... The Air National guard is closely connected with the local community in a way that active duty bases are not that's a distinction that's worth considering as you weigh your options. Some other thoughts below:
  • The Guard can be fun and rewarding but most importantly it should be viewed it as a commitment that you're making to the state and country. You're at an age where you can appreciate that more than others. There will be days/weekends when it's not want you want to be doing, but it still will have to be done.
  • As others have mentioned, at your place in life you're not just 'joining to join', which is common in active duty, but you need to be taking on a job that you're excited to do. Just like in civilian life, ask yourself 'does this sound fun? will this keep me engaged?'
  • Again, others have mentioned this but the recruiter is the military's version of a salesman. They're only job is to close deals. That doesn't make them bad, but everything they say should be viewed through this lens. They will have you believe that basic training/OTS is a fun and rewarding experience :) When considering positions if possible, spend more time engaged with actual guardsman doing the work.
  • Getting back to the commitment, when you sign on the dotted line and raise your right hand, you are absolutely saying that 'yes, if the Guard needs me the desert for 6+ months, then that's what I'm doing.' The sacrifice can be literally the ultimate. It makes any other debate around hear about AA, ERs, APRs seem trivial.

User avatar
djpeteski
Posts: 974
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by djpeteski » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:52 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:45 pm
Yeah I have hard Army national guard was really hard. It is like having two jobs. I have not heard similar experiences with Air National Guard though. Could be the difference in the area they operate?
I would imagine some Air Guard units also have it tough, it might depend upon the job they have. There is no harm in asking if you could sit in for a leadership meeting or two with your local unit. Keep quiet and listen, bring pizza or something like that. With food you will be welcomed with open arms.

Keep in mind you will have to go, to the unit you are assigned, where there is an open billet. That may mean driving far. It did for me. If you are in leadership, your job will be tough (I think) no matter what branch you are in. However the Air Force model seems different then the other branches in this regard.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 19775
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by Watty » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:02 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:58 pm
I have an undergrad in Engineering and MBA.
Just for brainstorming you might want to check to see if there are any similar opportunities with the US Army Corp of Engineers.

https://www.usace.army.mil/Reserve-Affairs/

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:18 pm

IRT wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm
Great advice being shared, I'll offer my 2-cents as someone with prior experience in the guard and from a family of guardsman... The Air National guard is closely connected with the local community in a way that active duty bases are not that's a distinction that's worth considering as you weigh your options. Some other thoughts below:
  • The Guard can be fun and rewarding but most importantly it should be viewed it as a commitment that you're making to the state and country. You're at an age where you can appreciate that more than others. There will be days/weekends when it's not want you want to be doing, but it still will have to be done.
  • As others have mentioned, at your place in life you're not just 'joining to join', which is common in active duty, but you need to be taking on a job that you're excited to do. Just like in civilian life, ask yourself 'does this sound fun? will this keep me engaged?'
  • Again, others have mentioned this but the recruiter is the military's version of a salesman. They're only job is to close deals. That doesn't make them bad, but everything they say should be viewed through this lens. They will have you believe that basic training/OTS is a fun and rewarding experience :) When considering positions if possible, spend more time engaged with actual guardsman doing the work.
  • Getting back to the commitment, when you sign on the dotted line and raise your right hand, you are absolutely saying that 'yes, if the Guard needs me the desert for 6+ months, then that's what I'm doing.' The sacrifice can be literally the ultimate. It makes any other debate around hear about AA, ERs, APRs seem trivial.
Thank you for this great well-thought feedback. Is LinkedIn the best way to connect to people in the guard?

hidradenitis
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hidradenitis » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:21 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:18 pm
IRT wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm
Great advice being shared, I'll offer my 2-cents as someone with prior experience in the guard and from a family of guardsman... The Air National guard is closely connected with the local community in a way that active duty bases are not that's a distinction that's worth considering as you weigh your options. Some other thoughts below:
  • The Guard can be fun and rewarding but most importantly it should be viewed it as a commitment that you're making to the state and country. You're at an age where you can appreciate that more than others. There will be days/weekends when it's not want you want to be doing, but it still will have to be done.
  • As others have mentioned, at your place in life you're not just 'joining to join', which is common in active duty, but you need to be taking on a job that you're excited to do. Just like in civilian life, ask yourself 'does this sound fun? will this keep me engaged?'
  • Again, others have mentioned this but the recruiter is the military's version of a salesman. They're only job is to close deals. That doesn't make them bad, but everything they say should be viewed through this lens. They will have you believe that basic training/OTS is a fun and rewarding experience :) When considering positions if possible, spend more time engaged with actual guardsman doing the work.
  • Getting back to the commitment, when you sign on the dotted line and raise your right hand, you are absolutely saying that 'yes, if the Guard needs me the desert for 6+ months, then that's what I'm doing.' The sacrifice can be literally the ultimate. It makes any other debate around hear about AA, ERs, APRs seem trivial.
Thank you for this great well-thought feedback. Is LinkedIn the best way to connect to people in the guard?
Feel free to PM me

User avatar
djmbob
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:16 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by djmbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:26 pm

I am not able to PM you since you have disabled that feature.
Fixed!
Cheers,
Ray

oldfort
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by oldfort » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:28 pm

To start with the basics: are you eligible to join? Do you have any health problems which could disqualify you? What type of physical shape are you in? Can you pass a PT test?

IRT
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by IRT » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:46 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:18 pm
IRT wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm
Great advice being shared, I'll offer my 2-cents as someone with prior experience in the guard and from a family of guardsman... The Air National guard is closely connected with the local community in a way that active duty bases are not that's a distinction that's worth considering as you weigh your options. Some other thoughts below:
  • The Guard can be fun and rewarding but most importantly it should be viewed it as a commitment that you're making to the state and country. You're at an age where you can appreciate that more than others. There will be days/weekends when it's not want you want to be doing, but it still will have to be done.
  • As others have mentioned, at your place in life you're not just 'joining to join', which is common in active duty, but you need to be taking on a job that you're excited to do. Just like in civilian life, ask yourself 'does this sound fun? will this keep me engaged?'
  • Again, others have mentioned this but the recruiter is the military's version of a salesman. They're only job is to close deals. That doesn't make them bad, but everything they say should be viewed through this lens. They will have you believe that basic training/OTS is a fun and rewarding experience :) When considering positions if possible, spend more time engaged with actual guardsman doing the work.
  • Getting back to the commitment, when you sign on the dotted line and raise your right hand, you are absolutely saying that 'yes, if the Guard needs me the desert for 6+ months, then that's what I'm doing.' The sacrifice can be literally the ultimate. It makes any other debate around here about AA, ERs, APRs seem trivial.
Thank you for this great well-thought feedback. Is LinkedIn the best way to connect to people in the guard?
Contrary to my prior advice, I think the recruiter can connect you with Guardsman in a few different areas. At least you can start making your own connections that way. I'm not sure how widely LinkedIn is used (frankly I'm too far removed-- but I imagine it varies considerably across position).

HeartinAK
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by HeartinAK » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:59 pm

Adding my experience. I was active duty for 4 years right out of high school. Went in firstly because I wanted to serve, secondly for the GI Bill. Decided at 40 that I really wanted to serve again and went through the process to enlist in the Air Guard. Found out we were being relocated for my husband's employment and there was no Air Guard station available to me. I still wish I would have been able to go back in. There is no civilian experience to me that is similar to what I felt in the military. The closest I have experienced is when I volunteered for 45 days in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria.
Good luck on your decision.
Jules

oldfort
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by oldfort » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:53 pm

How do you feel about taking orders from someone a decade younger than you are?

User avatar
Nate79
Posts: 6049
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by Nate79 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:11 pm

If it is something you want to do then I applaud you for wanting to serve your country.

oldfort
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by oldfort » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:01 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm
mrspock wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:13 pm
ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:05 pm
Hello,
I have been thinking about joining the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve as an Officer. I am 31 and have two kids, and have a good paying job. Not sure if it is a crazy idea, would like to know your feedback on it. Pretty sure there are some folks here who have served or currently serving, would like to hear your thoughts.
Thank you,
AJM
Why not join in a full-time civilian capacity? This might be a good middle ground.
What is that?
Civilians are federal government employees who work for the Department of Defense. Here are some differences. Military members are subject to the UCMJ. Civilians are not, although there are some theoretical exceptions to this. Civilians can quit at anytime. Military members are legally obligated to stay in the job until they finish their commitment. In practice, if a military member wants out bad enough, the military would rather discharge a non-performing service member than waste time dealing with a problem child. Military typically change jobs every two to four years. As a military member, expect to change bases about every four years. Civilians don't change jobs unless they choose to apply for a new position. Military deploy more than civilians, although some civilians do deploy. For all the differences, most support units will have a mix of civilians and military who work together on a daily basis.

https://www.usa.gov/government-jobs

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:23 pm

oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:28 pm
To start with the basics: are you eligible to join? Do you have any health problems which could disqualify you? What type of physical shape are you in? Can you pass a PT test?
I am eligible to join and I qualify the PT standards.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:28 pm

oldfort wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:53 pm
How do you feel about taking orders from someone a decade younger than you are?
If my leader is 21 and he reached that position in that age, then he /she would be so good and I dont have any probs taking commands from him/her

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:31 pm

Thank you guys for all the replies.
If I go in as an engineer or into Intel, what skills would I learn? I like to learn more about weapons and combat. It might not be directly related to the job I chose, but will there be opportunity within the military to learn those. Or do you have to be infantry in Marine or Army to get those skills?

hidradenitis
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hidradenitis » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:21 am

You may want to look into being a CSO (pronounced 'SIZZ-oh'), or combat systems officer (formerly known as navigators). You are getting close to the age cutoff for flight school though; this is where the recruiter can help.

oldfort
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by oldfort » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:06 pm

ajm1489 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:31 pm
Thank you guys for all the replies.
If I go in as an engineer or into Intel, what skills would I learn? I like to learn more about weapons and combat. It might not be directly related to the job I chose, but will there be opportunity within the military to learn those. Or do you have to be infantry in Marine or Army to get those skills?
Dual citizenship will make it very difficult to get an intel job.

hdcd
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:09 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hdcd » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:59 pm

My son - 21- has been in the guard since he was 17. Overall has been a decent experience for him. What made it for him was knowing someone who is already in the guard to help guide him with his career and how things are done in the military. For example, someone local could provide advice on what units are "good', what to avoid, career paths that would fit you best, etc. Start a conversation with someone you trust if possible. You are in for 6 years and can't get out.

Start reading up on the medical requirements to see if you have any challenges. Maybe a deal breaker.

From what I know, going in at 31 as an officer with no prior won't go over very well. If at all. Many others with experience out there ready and willing to fill the slots.

Lastly, the military is extremely s-l-o-w with getting anything accomplished. LOT of paperwork, people dragging their feet.

Not trying to discourage you. If I were your age, I would jump at the opportunity. Just don't jump without knowing what you are getting into.

Topic Author
ajm1489
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by ajm1489 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:16 pm

hdcd wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:59 pm
My son - 21- has been in the guard since he was 17. Overall has been a decent experience for him. What made it for him was knowing someone who is already in the guard to help guide him with his career and how things are done in the military. For example, someone local could provide advice on what units are "good', what to avoid, career paths that would fit you best, etc. Start a conversation with someone you trust if possible. You are in for 6 years and can't get out.

Start reading up on the medical requirements to see if you have any challenges. Maybe a deal breaker.

From what I know, going in at 31 as an officer with no prior won't go over very well. If at all. Many others with experience out there ready and willing to fill the slots.

Lastly, the military is extremely s-l-o-w with getting anything accomplished. LOT of paperwork, people dragging their feet.

Not trying to discourage you. If I were your age, I would jump at the opportunity. Just don't jump without knowing what you are getting into.
thank you for the feedback Sir

IMO
Posts: 920
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by IMO » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:39 pm

One thing you have to remember if you work a normal 8 hour, 5 day per week job:

Month 1:
Week 1: Work M-F, have Sat and Sun off
Week 2: Work M-F, have Sat and Sun off
Week 3: Work M-F, have Sat and Sun off
Week 4: Work M-F, drill Sat and Sun

So in typical month, you lost 2/8 weekend days off or 1/4 of your free time every month.

It's gets worse, on week #4, you are now working 7 days for the week (5 civilian, 2 drill days) , then the following week you are working M-F again (5 civilian days of work), so your now working 12 days straight in a row. This 12 working days straight goes on month after month, year after year.

And you must deploy when called to deploy, short or long. I've met more than 1 physician/health care provider who's deployment ruined their private practice.

I'm all for people serving their country, been there/done that along with the Reserves. Just understand it's definitely a 2nd job, and this is coming from a landlord who doesn't think managing properties in any way/shape compares to an actual 2nd job. I believe? for most in the Air National Guard, you are at least typically living in the area/base where you will drill. In other Reserve situations, you may have to travel very far for your billet (sometimes including flights), and in some circumstances, you may not be in a paid billet, but instead are just drilling for retirement credits. I think at least now you can write off your travel costs to get to your weekend drills.

FWIW, concerning your issue with minorities in the Services, personally, it was very diverse. Perhaps in your particular area minorities are not joining, but it's not like there are not minorities who serve their country.

hdcd
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:09 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by hdcd » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:04 am

The post by IMO jogged my memory a bit.. BMT (basic military training) in Lackland AFB is 8 weeks plus prep. Then whatever career field you choose requires training. Could be a few weeks, could be 12. When they tell you go, you go. No negotiations. Most units will do a super drill in the year. In our area, it's the summer. 2 weeks some place.

During the year, if you are activated by the unit, for let's say riot control, your employer can't deny you or retaliate. You must go. Some deployments are volunteer but who knows? My sons mentor is an officer and goes on deployments each year for 6-12 weeks. He gets paid by the guard and also his employer. Some employers are more generous than others on how many weeks they will pay. The employer might not like him going, but they have no choice but to let him go and keep his position open when he returns.

IMO
Posts: 920
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Thinking about joining Air National Guard at 31 years

Post by IMO » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:30 am

hdcd wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:04 am
The post by IMO jogged my memory a bit.. BMT (basic military training) in Lackland AFB is 8 weeks plus prep. Then whatever career field you choose requires training. Could be a few weeks, could be 12. When they tell you go, you go. No negotiations. Most units will do a super drill in the year. In our area, it's the summer. 2 weeks some place.

During the year, if you are activated by the unit, for let's say riot control, your employer can't deny you or retaliate. You must go. Some deployments are volunteer but who knows? My sons mentor is an officer and goes on deployments each year for 6-12 weeks. He gets paid by the guard and also his employer. Some employers are more generous than others on how many weeks they will pay. The employer might not like him going, but they have no choice but to let him go and keep his position open when he returns.
I would suspect getting paid simultaneously by one's employer is more of the exception than the rule. Imagine a 6 month deployment and one's employer is picking up your salary for 6 months and hiring someone temporarily to cover your job. Also, while it would be illegal to discriminate upon hiring, in many positions, the thought that one may not fully be available for the job at times could be a factor utilized to not hire you, although that would never be a reason overtly given to a potential employee. If you had a significant position as an employer that was not easy to find temporary help during a person's military stints, if you had 2 equal employee's, which one would you chose?

I personally remember back just wanting to have my employer offer me more personal time off with a reduction of salary, just to make up for military obligation and the reduction of my free time (don't forget there is 2 week annual training which aren't deployments). From the employer's perspective, just for annual training it's like one is taking off 2 weeks for vacation (in the employer's mind). Even that doesn't go well, the employer wants you there as much as possible because your a source of their income.

Post Reply