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Active Duty vs National Guard

Active Duty National Guard
Is medical insurance available? What is the cost? Yes. Tricare is provided without monthly premiums. Yes, during activation with no monthly premiums. When not activated, eligible for Tricare Reserve Select (with monthly premium).
Is dental insurance provided? Free of charge for military members. Dependents can be covered for small monthly premium. Free for military member when activated. When not activated, available for a monthly premium.
Can I be deployed overseas? Yes. Yes. In addition, National Guard can also be deployed stateside.
What is the shortest enlistment? Active of at least three years. Total commitment is eight years with IRR. Active of at least three years. Total commitment is eight years with IRR.
Do I receive allowances other than base pay? Yes, depending on your situation you may also be eligible for housing, food and other special pays. When activated, yes. When not activated, you will receive drill pay.
Will I attend basic training? Yes, basic training is 9 weeks. Yes, basic training is 9 weeks.
Where will I be stationed? You could be stationed at any Army post within the United States or overseas. You will likely serve in your home state at the armory closest to your hometown unless you are activated for a stateside or overseas deployment. You will not live on an Army post during periods of inactivation.
How often will I serve? You will serve for the duration of your enlistment/commission. One weekend a month and two weeks a year unless you are activated.
Can I have another job or attend school while serving? Active duty is a full time commitment. Some school programs (especially online) cater to active duty military. Yes. National Guard is a part-time commitment unless activated.
Will I get money for college? This is available through the GI Bill. This is available through the GI Bill.
Can I get an enlistment bonus? Yes, based on your qualifications and MOS. Yes, based on your qualifications and MOS.
Do we have on post privileges? Yes. Yes.

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Kenzie June 27, 2012, 2:05 am

    How can I change foe national guard to active duty?

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