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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: bluecheeze on August 20, 2014, 12:49:02 AM

Title: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: bluecheeze on August 20, 2014, 12:49:02 AM
Curious if anyone has been involved with the National Guard.  I am looking to retire from my current career in about 3 years at 30yrs old and I looking for something to with the spare time.  From what I understand the Guard is a pretty low commitment way to make a few extra bucks and seems like it would be an enjoyable thing for me (fitness, guns, tactical training, etc).  I wouldn't "need" the money but it would be nice to have an extra 20k/year to live an "extravagant" lifestyle during my retirement- basically to fund hobbies.  I assume I would be able to make officer (Masters/Bachelors Civil Engineering)?

I would also be focusing on building our home and starting a side gig remodeling/fixing up houses so I want something that is not a full 40hr/week commitment- just something I can easily schedule around and keep me in shape/commited to something for a few hours per month.

So for those of you in the Guard- is it a fun/exciting way to make a few extra bucks/ keep yourself occupied?  Stupid idea?   
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: lakemom on August 20, 2014, 05:24:55 AM
If you are looking at weekend warrior than you'd be making less than 10k per year with one weekend a month and two weeks per year.  Call and chat with a recruiter and see what the possibilities are.  As an officer, incoming training is 'easier' but you also have to wait for a slot to open for your rank and job classification.  You also have to understand thoroughly that an activation is possible (although a lot less probable at the moment than 5 years ago) and when called, leaving is not optional.  Will your family and business be ok while you are gone for 3 weeks, how about 4 months, 12 months? 
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: Alex321 on August 20, 2014, 05:40:58 AM
As a veteran from active duty, I agree with everything lakemom just said. That's not to discourage you, because I think you have a great idea here, but those are good things to consider.

I have considered joining the reserves to pick up the pension down the road, and to have a little fun along the way, but with my wife being a SAHM and working part-time from home, I think my disappearing every fourth weekend would send her over the edge. And her income is more significant than reserve income or the pension, so we have to know our limits.

But if I were retired, or "retired," I would absolutely go for it.
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: Michael792 on August 20, 2014, 06:20:51 AM
I was Reserves and now am Active. I would strongly suggest you don't do that. If you want the fun aspect of it, there's police agencies that offer community police training, or you could be a reserve sheriff/deputy/officer. Then you don't have a one-way contract where the controlling party really couldn't give two shits about you. Not to mention being involuntarily deployed if you go guard.

As a former Reservist, it is by and large not fun at all. There's lots of paperwork the Army requires on people, and in the NG or Reserve component most of your drills are spent on some aspect of paperwork and very basic classes. And cleaning the building. Fun and exciting aren't really in the vocabulary.
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: bluecheeze on August 20, 2014, 06:29:26 AM
Good insights.  Looking into it a little more it seems as though I would be signing up for an 8 year commitment?  That would be in direct conflict with the whole purpose of me getting out of the workforce- freedom to do whatever I want.  I was initially thinking it would be a shorter (maybe 4 year term). I think I may still call up a recruiter just for a chat though.
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: HawkeyeNFO on August 20, 2014, 07:51:49 AM
Active duty military here.  I spent 3 years in a reserve unit.

(fitness, guns, tactical training, etc)

If this is what you think you will be doing on weekends, then you are wrong.  Your drill weekends will consist largely of powerpoint training presentations regarding alcohol abuse, sexual harrassment prevention, and other things that the politicians have decided that the troops need.  Very little time for fitness, guns and tactics.  Fitness is your responsibility and really is on your time, while the guns and tactics is saved for your 2 weeks or more of training.  And yes, guard troops are deploying to Afghanistan. 

There are other good, compelling reasons to join the Guard or Reserves, but not these.  Talk to the recruiter, and if you already have a degree, don't commit to anything less than OCS, unless you find a specific field you really want to spend time working in.
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: Spartana on August 20, 2014, 07:40:19 PM
How about the Coast Guard reserves? It's a military service so has the same pay, benefits, and structure but is with the Dept of Homeland Security rather than the DoD. You'll be less likely to be called up during a war (although it's possible as it was during Vietnam and there are/have been units deployed in to Iraq and Afghanistan too) but more likely to be called up for a natural disaster (anywhere in the world) as well as for various anti-terrorist and homeland security stuff. You will probably find lots of units near your home (if you are coastal or on a big river or lake area) for both officer or enlisted reserve. I was active duty enlisted for many years and then stayed in the reserves for awhile afterwards and it was great. 

Edited to add: I think the cut off age in the CG is 27 unless you are prior service. Other services have a higher age cut off.
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: SummerLovin on August 21, 2014, 05:53:15 AM
"So for those of you in the Guard- is it a fun/exciting way to make a few extra bucks/ keep yourself occupied?"
"Stupid idea?"
+1 What all the other posters said.
It is a significant time requirement, especially as an Officer or Senior Enlisted. You have to get through basic-8 weeks, Advanced training 6-56 weeks depending on specialty, and if you wan to be an officer 16-18 weekends, and 2 two- week AT.
"One weekend a month, two weeks a ass!"

Google all the memes of "What they think you do in the National Guard... what you actually do."
You will likely be deployed, if not overseas, then to support local floods, fires, riots, winter storms and other natural disasters.  Can your family get along without you there in those situations?
It is not for everyone. What you do on a given weekend really depends on you units mission. The NG still has to meet all the requirements for readiness as active duty, but you only have drill weekend and AT [Annual Training)  to get it all done. It is usually an administrative PITA to get soldiers ready to deploy- which is every units#1 mission.

Now for the positive:
I was active and National Guard, and loved most of my 28 yrs combined.
I enjoyed helping others, travelling and meeting all kinds of wonderful people. It is a life changing experience.

Age cutoff without prior service is 35.
If you want to be an officer-
You should look at other options for part time work as NG doesn't really fit with your needs.  Good luck!
Title: Re: National Guard after FIRE?
Post by: bluecheeze on August 21, 2014, 06:16:28 AM
Last post made me crack up.  Thanks for the insights.