National Guard experience

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by payitforward, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    DS is a freshman cadet at UNG with goals of commissioning. He is majoring in International Affairs and hopes to go to SLI (Summer Language Institute) this summer studying Chinese or Arabic, then continue to take strategic language classes, eventually (after 5 years) resulting in language proficiency nearing some level of militarily classifiable fluency. (I guess that's a "thing" -- some rating level of fluency in strategic languages, but I honestly don't know.)

    BUT, to add complication to an already complicated plan, he also plans to join the Georgia Army National Guard. This coming Monday, he would sign the papers to drop out of school for this coming spring semester to go to basics (and I think AIT). He's most interested in a cavalry/infantry job in the guard. And he's involved in the co-curricular specialty group at school that trains intensively in mountain warfare.

    More complications: permanent address is NJ, not Ga, creating some additional headaches for drill weekends.

    So, in theory, the next year would go like this:
    * Sign NG paperwork
    * Finish fall semester
    * Go to basics/AIT from Jan to May
    * Go to SLI June/July. Complication alert: what about NG weekend drill and 2-week summer NG training? SLI is an immersion program -- you are there for 6 weeks, 8 am to 10 pm, staying in the dorms with people in your language program all lumped together 24 hours a day, classes on Saturday and Sunday too.
    * Start back at UNG August taking 2 back-to-back language classes in the same semester (very difficult). Complication alert: drill weekends taking away from intensive study time for those difficult language classes.

    His reasons for joining guard are:
    * He does not currently have a ROTC scholarship, so the idea is that he would make money to pay for school, and get tuition assistance (TA) from the NG. Is this true? He would make some actual money to help with school expenses?
    * He believes that 3 or 4 years in NG will mean that once he's a 2LT in the regular Army, he'll understand the troops better, have more military experience, resulting in more respect of those under him, and of those above him. If he should end up being deployed, he probably wouldn't mind that, as it would give him even more experience. (I hate the idea of deployment, personally, but we'll leave my feelings about that out of this.)

    I believe that once he completes SLI, and demonstrates his natural propensity for learning strategic languages, he probably would EASILY get an ROTC scholarship (so the money earned as a member of NG isn't as much of a need). I think cadets with certain levels of strategic language fluency also earn a stipend. Meaning that joining NG for the money is sort of no longer a reason to join.

    I'm also worried that joining NG will complicate things, in terms of drill weekends, and summer drills, for the long-term future of his college career and all those awesome training experiences cadets can take advantage of.

    I'm afraid that if he accepts tuition assistance from NG, he will be obliged to stay in the guard and won't be able to get out that commitment to go AD.

    And then there's also SMPs, which adds another level of complication to this. I've read the sites referred to from this forum about SMPs, and honestly, my head is literally spinning around like Carrie. It's a wonder I can still type.

    One other complication: if he signs that NG paperwork, and then something happens that makes him want to drop out of school, (God forbid, but things happen, you know?) he's obligated to NG for 6 years and wouldn't be able to enlist in regular Army.

    I realize a lot of these issues have been discussed in the forums already. I've read EVERYTHING I could dig up at least 5 times over the last several months. I've called NJNG. I've called GaNG. I've spoken to people in cadet admissions. But I'm just wondering if any of you have specific advice, wisdom or stories to share about National Guard, tuition assistance, strategic languages, whether NG really does affect a 2LT's reputation, what you think about the combination of strategic languages+NG+cavalry+ mountain warfare experience.

    I think in general, I just want to know I'm not alone in mulling over all this stuff, like, ALL the time. And when DS calls me, I won't be bombarding him with questions like I do now.

    What are your thoughts? Is joining the NG a good idea for him right now? It's been his dream since he was 5 or 6 to serve his country. I'm extremely proud of him. Thanks for reading.
     
  2. mingram

    mingram Member

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    NG

    I have spent 20 years and had multiple deployments with the NG and I have a DD that is in her second year of NROTC.

    There are a few of your questions I can help with.

    He will not be eligible for TA until he completes BT and AIT and joins his unit.

    I think he loses the TA benefit if he gets a scholarship

    He could complete BT and AIT and then request a drill and AT waiver for his summer program but it is up to the unit to approve which usually depends where they are in their training cycle.

    He could join the NG and then decide he wants to go active, he would need commander’s approval which normally is given if there are no problems such as PT, weight, attendance etc.

    Opinion Disclaimer:
    FWIW
    The NG and ROTC have different goals and they do not always play nice. I have heard great things about the Cav in north GA (I am over the mountain in TN) and they probably work closer with ROTC than any other unit around but they still have different priorities. I am also of the belief that being enlisted does not make you automatically a better officer and in my case most of the really good officers I served under were not prior enlisted. There are many things that will demand time of our kids while they are in school and I would try and get my child to wait till they were further in the program.
    M
     
  3. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    SMP

    To do SMP you must have 2 yrs of school left and be an MSIII (contracted I believe). SMP and ROTC go hand in hand so you become an officer.
    You do not have to go to basic and ait if you do SMP since you will either have 2 yrs of ROTC already or will attend LTC if you did not do ROTC your first 2 yrs.

    If this is the route you go then I believe you loose your TA (but your getting it paid for now not later).

    You can compete for active duty provided you do not accept any GRFD scholarship. If you do then active duty is off the table.

    Transferring from Guard to Active Duty is not as easy as it was. With the downsizing of the military and budget cuts it is next to impossible some say. Guard is state money active duty is federal money.
     
  4. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    Here are the requirements for SMP:

    1. Possess a minimum of 30 college credit hours toward their degree and have completed either A, B or C below:

    A. MIL 101 and MIL 102

    B. Basic Combat Training

    C. Leaders Training Course (LTC)

    2. Possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA (2.75 minimum).

    3. Have an academic plan approved by their certified Advisor, completed CC Form 104-R (Planned Academic Worksheet) reviewed and approved by the ROTC Enrollment Officer.

    4. Be medically qualified by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB).

    5. Pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) with a score of 240 or higher.

    6. Be of good moral character.

    7. Demonstrate leadership potential and desire by ACTIVELY participating in ALL physical and leadership training.

    Contracted cadets hold the pay-grade of a Sergeant (E-5) in their Guard or Reserve unit and serve as Officer trainees under the supervision and guidance of a Commissioned Officer. Pay for a monthly weekend Drill is approximately $288.00 (2013 pay rate; <2 years of service).

    Additionally, contracted SMP cadets receive the following ROTC subsistence allowance:

    $350 - Sophomores

    $450 - Juniors

    $500 - Seniors
     
  5. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    This is mostly accurate. I transferred from the Reserve component to the active side a few years ago and it was a lot of hoop jumping. From what I've heard it's only gotten more difficult. It isn't simply a matter of your commander signing a release. The release needs to be signed by someone much higher now (last I heard it was the first 1 star in your chain of command, but this could vary by state Guard). Then, when you take the release to an AD recruiter you need to clear MEPS. If there is no need for your MOS at your rank, you have to reclass. If there are no vacancies for retraining at your rank, you are out of luck and stuck in the Guard. If your son is dead set on active duty he should think carefully before joining the Guard. If he does not graduate and commission, there is a good likelihood he will remain stuck in the National Guard.

    Of course, if he does finish and commission he can compete for AD like everyone else so long as he doesn't take a GRFD scholarship. I am familiar with the Georgia Guard. I'm sure it varies by university, but they do have a program where contracted SMP Cadets do all their drills with he ROTC program. The FTXs typicall count as drills and LDAC for summer AT.
     
  6. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    It has to go all the way to HRC command and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt it's next to impossible unless you are some critical need specialty (i.e. neurosurgeon, or maybe a experienced psych NP).

    I met NG/reserve LTs at BOLC talk about transferring as MS officers and I had to stop myself my laughing....
     
  7. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    To the OP it sounds like a lot of time and effort away from his goal of commissioning. As you said enlisted doesn't always equal a better officer and I am not sure how much experience he will gain as a PFC in the guard being cav/infantry is moot as 90% of the time you aren't actively training at drill unless there is an FTX. As an SMP cadet it really varies, some units use them well others hang them out to dry for just a wasted college weekend.

    Overall I really don't see the plus but I DO think your DS is getting the itch to go do something right now and by that I mean he wants the ribbons, the actual training and the badass feeling of being combat arms right NOW. Trust me we all get that feeling when we start out....

    My advice is to stick with ROTC and leave the enlisting stuff aside. There is also no guarantee when he will go to basic/AIT and without violating OPSEC about my personal unit situation but I highly highly doubt he would deploy as a guard 11B/19D for OEF. Like I said he wants the experience NOW but it's not going to happen.

    Seen this same situation many many times.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If he wants to join the guard for the adventure, infantry/cavalry is a fine choice, but don't expect Chines or Arabic to be useful in the infantry/cavalry.

    Your DS might be talking about Defense Language Proficiency Test. The Army used to pay bonuses for foreign language proficiency, but it's pretty much gone unless you are actually in the position that requires that language.
     
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Majority of guard funding comes from the DoD. Hence anytime there is a budget crunch, active duty folks talk about cutting the Reserves and the National Guard.
     
  10. wildcatmom

    wildcatmom Member

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    SMP

    My DS is an MSIII and SMP in USAR unit. He was exempted from attending AT with his unit this summer, although he did drill.
    You mentioned time constraints, and these are very valid. Last weekend, my son missed critical classes on Friday in order to drill with his unit...On Saturday, he missed drill (the fun part--rifle qual) in order to spend the day with mandatory ROTC field activities...Sunday was back to his unit...No time for any studies, and this week FOUR, with exams in most classes...
    When he contracted as a cadet, he was immediately assigned as a platoon leader...Now he has additional responsibilities with his AR unit, including weekly communications meetings, which of course fall during Exam reviews for his hardest class...
    He misses a lot of EC opportunities due to drills, and misses some drills due to ROTC FTX and field activities...He spends a lot of time getting releases signed from one side or the other to miss concurrent activities.
    Granted some of this is due to him jumping into ROTC midway through. A squared away student who starts as a Freshman and uses their time wisely, will be more comfortable juggling all three hats!
    Best of luck to your DS...
     
  11. wildcatmom

    wildcatmom Member

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    MemberLG,
    LOL! All of the USAR publications sent to DS, seem to indicate the Reserve is growing and expanding...in lieu of cutbacks to AD...Especially in the Service and Support groups...
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Only time will tell if those USAR publications are correct. My guess is that all three components will be cut - politics will determine which components will get cut the most. Active duty is it's own lobby. NG has state Congressional lobby. Reserves - ?
     
  13. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Everything will get cut but hopefully it will done with some prudence. The reserves makes up 75% of the Army's medical force and around the same or more for civil affairs/psy ops. Both branches deploy frequently...
     
  14. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    This is probably the case for officers. I've heard of no such thing for enlisted, which is what the OP's son would have to worry about.
     
  15. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Thanks, everybody, for all the useful responses. You've really helped clarify things for me and hopefully I can have a nice talk with DS tonight.

    Deciphering the acronyms is AIADW around here. :thumb:
     
  16. philmont

    philmont Member

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    payitforward,
    Was your DS looking at NG prior to attending UNG? Your DS is only 4 or 5 weeks into the academic year as a frog, right?
    If his goal is to be a commissioned active duty officer he should stay the current course as a Cadet at UNG. If he does everything right he should be able to earn a contract (high GPA, APFT, extra-curricula’s, etc) and possibly scholarship. As a ROTC Cadet he can also earn CLIP B payments which were $1500 per semester for a B or higher grade in a critical language course. http://www.cadetcommand.army.mil/culp/
    It sounds as if your DS has a lot of enthusiasm and his desire to immediately serve is commendable but I wonder if he is not seeing the forest for the trees.
     
  17. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    YES YES YES!! That is exactly the problem, I think. He is SO enthusiastic about serving that he can't seem to focus on the ONE THING THAT MATTERS RIGHT NOW -- getting a college degree and the best possible ranking on the OML. (Check me out with that OML thing. You guys, I'm really starting to get this!)

    Oh, but NO, he was never looking at National Guard as a career. He was only ever looking at it as a way to make money and gain some "reputation points" and experience for that day that he eventually goes AD. He has always only ever wanted AD. And by the way UNG is the PERFECT school for him. He absolutely loves it there and hopes to move up the leadership ranks in the cadet corps once he's been there a few years. It seems to me the wrong thing to do is LEAVE for a semester to go do NG basics. I could be wrong, but of all the people I've asked about this, I haven't heard very much support for going guard. I'm only hearing about headaches. Lots and lots of headaches for someone who wants leadership in the cadet corps, high grades, and a decent position on the OML.

    But you know, he's not listening to MOM and DAD. I need some colonel or something to whack him over the head.
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Well, you folks are on the right track and unfortunately DS is on the wrong one. I'm sure you've already told him that if he wants to move up the ranks at school then he should focus on that. Next question, which you've already asked I'm sure, is how does NG help you do that? And if he had an explanation, I'm sure you asked him who told him THAT! And finally, if it wasn't one of the cadre or leaders at the school, than you told him to check it out with them, right? The trick may be to guide him to the right answer perhaps by getting it from other folks, but making sure they are the right folks.

    If you want, I can call him and pose as a colonel or something! :rolleyes:

    Good luck. I'm confident you can get him to see the light in your own, and his own, way. Try carrots but use sticks if necessary! :biggrin:
     
  19. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    It's not that SMP is a bad way to go. If he isn't going to get a scholarship the drill pay and Tuition Assistance don't hurt, and it'll give him a small kick on the OML. But at that age plans can change fast and if he doesn't finish college or decides he wants to be enlisted, he's going to be locked into the National Guard.

    Is he contracted yet? If for some reason DODMERB medically disqualified him from commissioning, and he's in the Guard already, he isn't getting out of it to go active duty. I've seen this happen to a former Cadet at my school.
     
  20. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Hmm, a small kick on the OML, huh? How small?

    Not contracted yet. He's only a first semester freshman.

    Very useful input, everyone. I really appreciate it.
     

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