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Posted: 10/27/2010 5:57:20 PM EDT
I am an engineer (mechanical with a major defense contractor; I started working with my company recently, and I enjoy my job (I'm in my mid-late 20's). I have always had the thought of serving my country in the back of my mind, but I never really had a chance to give it any serious thought; I was an athlete in undergrad, and then spent some time in various jobs and grad school. Still, though, the thought of military service has always been on my mind (I probably would have considered active duty at some point if I had more trouble finding a job, but fortunately it only took ~3-4 months).

Recently, I thought of the National Guard (I forget exactly why, but I looked them up online). Not to sound cocky or anything, but work has never made me feel 'challenged', at least not the same way as when I was competitively swimming, and I think that service is something which could challenge me, and satisfy my thought that I am missing out on something by not serving.

To make things even more interesting/tempting, the PA National Guard has a Combat Air Brigade. Remember when I mentioned I worked for a defense contractor? Yeah, I work on some of the same rotorcraft used by the PA NG. This means that I could have the opportunity to apply experience and knowledge back and forth between civilian life and service.

Still, though, I wouldn't want to endanger my civilian career too much. At least on paper, it seems as if they are very good with supporting their employees who do serve, but I haven't had a chance to try and find anyone else who is in the guard. Does anyone have experience joining the NG after starting a civilian career? How well would an employer take me having to leave for ~3 or more months for basic training? And last, but not least...how difficult is it to get a job flying those buckets of bolts?
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:10:40 PM EDT
Flying one of those buckets will have you in training for between 12 and 18 months.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:12:17 PM EDT
^ Good to know...figured it would be more than just 3 for the real fun.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:20:05 PM EDT
You are going to do around 2 years of training if you go into a Warrant slot. You will do almost a year to be a mechanic. A lot of employers say they are supportive but I find they are not so when you actually get into it. Most of the people in the Flight Companies are full time Guard. There are only 3 of us that are part time in my unit. I know some of the guys in the units you are looking at, I'm in the CT half of one of the units
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:31:08 PM EDT
So the moral of the story is that the training requirements are very significant for anything beyond infantry?
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:33:40 PM EDT
Talk with your boss, ask him straight up how much it would affect your career long term. While there are laws to protect you while in .mil training(soldiers and sailors act), I've heard of employers being not so happy and overlooking your name on promotion lists etc. On the other hand I've heard of employers doing such things as matching salaries to compensate for reduced mil pay and other wonderful things so YMMV
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:35:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DeltaV42:
So the moral of the story is that the training requirements are very significant for anything beyond infantry?

no, the moral is that the more technical the job the more training. as far as flying goes, that's not an enlisted job, they don't trust 10 million dollar pieces of equipment to privates and thus more training is involved with that as well.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:38:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DeltaV42:
So the moral of the story is that the training requirements are very significant for anything beyond infantry?

Shit, even being a medic is 8 months of training. You can expect to be away from work for about 4 months if you are 11B.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:47:41 PM EDT
I knew to expect training time...and that obviously flying would probably be at the top of the list.

My company does 'bump pay' to cover the difference between the military pay to what I get paid as an engineer. Being a defense contractor and all, they seem to make a big deal about taking care of their employees who are either current or former military. Still, having only been with the company 6 months, even next summer (after being with them for a year), the thing that would make me the most hesitant would be the time away. Do most people join the guard earlier, during school or directly between college and their first job?
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:53:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 7:08:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/27/2010 7:11:23 PM EDT by ronin083]
people join whenever they decide to join, there isn't a standard join date in life's great plan, I've seen everything from 16 yr olds to 38 yr olds join up...talk to a recruiter he'll have more info for you an lots of pamphlets, stickers, an keychains

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Plan on deployments over seas.

+1, while not guaranteed it's VERY likely
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 7:11:12 PM EDT
You've got a lot of legal protections so you shouldn't have to give anything up at work.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 7:32:36 PM EDT
between departure from MEPS to walking across the stage at AIT( graduation) initial training, was just under 9 months. 3 /1/2 for BCT. and 18 weeks ( unofficial) for tech training (signal communications) this did not include a week in-processing, or paperwork, or travel SNAFUS due to inclement weather)

my employeer has been in (all appropriate definitions,) uncooperative in my respect to my guard status. kicked me out of the system after I left, had to be re-hired, tried to lower my pay 2nd time around.. Never schedual me appropriately, even tho I gave them a drill schedual as presented by my Co. COM. my monthly drills and AT.. but since I've got seniority status, they just over look it.
don't get me wrong, but its my experiance, All employeers SAY they support you, but when the fit hits the shan, you really see where loyalties lie.
I'm leaving as soon as I can find an AGR job because having an employeer who appreciates you and supports you, is always nice.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 7:34:10 PM EDT
Have you considered OCS/OTS?

I looked into it while in grad school, even contacted some recruiters, but medical issues kept me out.

Get in now, do 20 years, retire from the service before you're 50, then work as a contractor/consultant.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 7:37:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/27/2010 7:38:28 PM EDT by Bettendorf]
Originally Posted By DeltaV42:
So the moral of the story is that the training requirements are very significant for anything beyond infantry?

No. There are lots of jobs that have almost the same weeks of training as the Infantry. MP, combat engineer, etc. Technical jobs are longer. If you're not getting excitement in your life, you should try one of those shorter MOS's, IMO. Good luck and I hope you join.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 7:41:18 PM EDT
ESGR has ombudsmen that are well connected and will take care of Reserve Component Soldiers that need assistance.
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