Posted on Jun 8, 2014
Lt Col U.S. Federal Government
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Networking, mentorship, resources and more; so, here it is... a place for Guardsmen & Reserve members to share those things most applicable to life and career in the Reserve Component. A great place to pose questions to a knowledgeable audience, and a dedicated area to share stories, resources, advice and other helpful tips and info. Please feel free to share any lessons learned, web links, photos, or anything else necessary to help illustrate your points and/or anything that would be of interest or helpful to our awesome Guard/Reserve members. This should be a thoroughly interesting and absolutely helpful discussion, so let's get this thing started. Thank you for all that you do, and... see you all in the discussion threads!
Edited 5 y ago
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SSG(P) Patrol Officer
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I have been a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard for over 14 years. I have spent a good number of years on active duty, whether on deployment or on orders working for the NG. One thing I have come to realize and see with a majority of the NG and Reserve units I have worked with is the extra experience. A good portion of the Soldiers have outside skills that they bring to the table. When I was deployed, we didn't always have to wait for contractors to come fix our stuff, we had guys in our unit that knew how to do it. That has always been an advantage to a NG/Reserve unit, the outside experiences they can bring to the table.
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COL Manager, Project Management Office
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Some thoughts off the top of my head:
- The Reserves and the NG have different cultures. NG culture can also change dramatically state to state. If you don't like the culture, you won't be happy.

- The Reserves and the NG have different missions, which leads to different units & specialties being represented. Your choice of component should be driven by your long range plans, or your long range plans should be driven by your component choice. Translation: PLAN your career with the realities of your component in mind. CPT Wolfer makes an excellent point along this line.

- The Reserves and the NG have different rank profiles, which can dramatically impact your promotion potential in different ranks/branches.

- If you desire to make a career of it, one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer is a fantasy. That MAY be what you are paid for, but it should realistically be less than half of what you do. Is that fair? Shrug. Effort and performance are very directly tied to career success in the Reserve components. YOU absolutely OWN your career.

- As a general rule, if you are in the NG, you are limited to one state's units. This can significantly limit your options in some rank/MOS combinations. (But it's also where the tanks are!) Two special comments here
- The general rule is not an ABSOLUTE rule, but it IS work to go from one state's NG to another - and it can be quite a culture shock.
- A note about the "old boy's club" - it exists in EVERY organization in the history of ever. It is basic human nature - we like and trust those we know the best and are likely to give them the benefit of the doubt (or a hand up) over those we don't. The more insular the organization, the more noticeable it is. Some organizations do a "better" job of being objective than others, but NONE are perfect. When you join a state's NG, you are the FNG.

- Don't EVER assume that you know ANYTHING about a person by the combination of their rank and mos. My 19 series PSG in my first platoon was also a former MAJ and Westpoint grad. I've known more than a few E-4 lawyers, PFCs with Master's degrees and their own businesses, 88Ms who are city or state cops, and at least one O2 who was living in his car.
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Maj Aerospace Planner
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5 y
For the Air Force components its becoming more gray. The AF trend is that many guard and reserve units are becoming active duty affiliated units where they are stationed at active bases work side by side with AD units. Even organic units are involved with day to day ops with active wings. Many guard units are gaining missions like RPA's and Distributed Ground Systems or DGS intel units. These units are increasingly involved with OCO and are reporting to the active wings. ALl the RPA units work directly for Creech's Expeditionary Air Wing for OCO. Many times other than different uniform patches you almost don't even know that you are working with a guardsman or reservist.
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BG Dep. Director, Military Programs
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You don't want to know. For the Bn. Cdrs. that have commented, the work only gets greater at brigade command. I spend 2-3 hours a day on military matters and about 2 1/2 weekends a month either at my HQ or visiting one of my four Bns. Thankfully, I am not trying to do any schooling at the same time. All that said, I knew the hazards of the job when I signed up for it so can't really complain. It's good to be the king!
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LTC Christopher Sands
LTC Christopher Sands
5 y
I was lucky enough to be mobilized while serving as Battalion Command. The 3 years were spent in a Training Support Battalion at Fort Dix, with the reserve portion of the battalion at Fort Meade, MD. The entire battalion was not mobilized, just a portion.
The hardest time was getting back to Fort Meade to see my Reserve Soldiers. As you say, Sir, It was good to be the king!
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COL Director, J5/7 Cyber National Mission Force
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I was lucky as well - was on active duty orders when I was in command and had a very understanding 3 star as a boss that encouraged me to take care of unit business as a priority (of course, the reserve component unit was aligned with the active duty unit so it was in his interests as well)
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