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.