Topic picture
Home |  Air_Guard |  Family_Resources |  Background |  Deployment | 
Employment |  Benefits |  Education |  FAQ




The Air National Guard is
administered by the National Guard Bureau, a joint bureau of the departments of
the Army and Air Force, located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. It is one of
the seven Reserve components of the United States armed forces augmenting the
active components in the performance of their missions.


The Air National Guard has both a federal
and state mission. The dual mission, a provision of the U. S. Constitution and
the U. S. Code of Laws, results in each guardsman holding membership in the
National Guard of his or her state and in the National Guard of the United

Federal Mission
The Air National Guard’s federal mission is
to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization
during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural
disasters or civil disturbances). During peacetime, the combat-ready units and
support units are assigned to most Air Force major commands to carry out
missions compatible with training, mobilization readiness and contingency
operations such as Operation Joint (Endeavor) Guard in Bosnia, Operation Provide
Comfort in Iraq and Turkey, and Operation Southern Watch in Kuwait. Air National
Guard units may be activated in a number of ways as prescribed by public law.
Most of the laws may be found in Title 10 of the United States Code.

The Air National Guard provides almost half
of the Air Force’s tactical airlift support, combat communications functions,
aeromedical evacuations and aerial refueling. In addition, the Air National
Guard has total responsibility for air defense of the entire United States.

The National Guard Bureau, both a staff and
operating agency, administers the federal functions of the Army and the Air
National Guard. As a staff agency, the National Guard Bureau participates with
the Army and Air staffs in developing and coordinating programs that directly
affect the National Guard. As an operating agency, the National Guard Bureau
formulates and administers the programs for training, development and
maintenance of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard and acts as the
channel of communication between the Army, Air Force and the 54 states and
territories where National Guard units are located.

State Mission

When Air National Guard units are not
mobilized or under federal control, they report to the governor of their
respective state, territory (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) or the
commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard. Each of the 54
National Guard organizations is supervised by the Adjutant General of the state
or territory. Under state law, the Air National Guard provides protection of
life, property and preserves peace, order and public safety. These missions are
accomplished through emergency relief support during natural disasters such as
floods, earthquakes and forest fires; search and rescue operations; support to
civil defense authorities; maintenance of vital public services and counter-drug

Force Structure

The primary sources of full-time support
for Air National Guard units are the dual-status military technician and
guardsmen on active duty. These people perform day-to-day management,
administration and maintenance. By law, dual-status military technicians are
civil service employees of the federal government who must be military members
of the unit that employs them. Technicians train with the unit and are mobilized
with it when it’s activated. Active-duty members serve under the command
authority of their respective state or territorial governors until mobilized for
federal duty. The Air National Guard has more than 106,000 officers and enlisted
people who serve in 88 flying units and 280 independent support units.

Personnel and

The authorized strength for the Air
National Guard for the current fiscal year is 106,678 compared to active force
strength of 360,877. The operating budget for this fiscal year is $1,486.5
million for personnel, $3,099.6 million for operation and maintenance and $213.2
million for military construction for a total of $4,799.3 million.

Flying Units/Functions and

Besides providing 100 percent of the United
States air defense interceptor force, the Air National Guard performs many other
Air Force-related roles and missions. 
The Air National Guard provides air traffic control, tactical airlift,
air refueling KC-135 tankers, general-purpose fighter force, rescue and recovery
capability, tactical air support, weather flights, bomber force, strategic
airlift forces and special operations capability.

Airlift squadrons, flying C-130 Hercules
aircraft, transport people, equipment and supplies. Eleven aeromedical
evacuation units augment the Air Force. The Air National Guard’s airlift
capability includes one C-5 Galaxy and two C-141 Starlifter units. Air refueling
units, flying KC-135 Stratotankers, provide air-to-air refueling for strategic
and tactical aircraft.

The Air National Guard has three rescue and
recovery squadrons that fly HH-60 helicopters and HC-130 aircraft. These units
provide important lifesaving capabilities and services to civilian and military
agencies.   Two heavy bomber
units fly B-1 aircraft and provide strategic strike and deterrence capabilities
for the nation’s defense.  Air
support units that fly OA-10s provide forward air control support of close-air
support missions.  The
general-purpose fighter force is equipped with F-15, F-16, A-10 and OA-10

Support Unit
Functions and Capabilities

Support units are essential to the Air
Force mission. In the Air National Guard they include air control units; combat
communications squadrons; civil engineering, engineering installation and civil
engineering heavy repair squadrons and communication flights and squadrons.
Support units also include weather flights, aircraft control and warning
squadrons, a range control squadron and an electronic security unit.

Air National Guard weather flights provide
weather support to Air Force and Army National Guard and Army Reserve divisions
and brigades. During mobilization or federal call up, weather flight units are
under the Air Combat Command, except for one, which falls under the Pacific Air

Civil engineering squadrons provide
engineer and firefighter forces trained and equipped to deploy on short notice.
Other civil engineering squadrons provide self-sufficient, deployable civil
engineering teams to perform heavy repair and maintenance on air bases and
remote sites.

ANG aerial port units provide trained
people to support Air Mobility Command’s two major theater war commitments. They
deploy to 20 active-duty aerial port locations worldwide for annual tour

Medical units located with parent flying
organizations provide day-to-day health care for flying and non-flying people
during their two-week annual training period or during monthly two-day unit
training assemblies.


The origins of the National Guard go
back to 1636.  The mission of the
militia was to defend settlements and colonies in case of attack.  Each member of the militia was required
to drill several times a month and also provide his own arms and equipment.  This is the basic concept of today’s
National Guard – the citizen soldier/airman. 

In the 19th century, military across the
nation referred to themselves as “National Guard” units, after a New York
militia unit adopted the name in deference to France’s “Garde Nationale”
commanded by the Marquise de la Fayette.

Approximately 460,000 members of the Army
and Air National Guard train a minimum of 39 days per year, but often much more,
to provide significant, low-cost augmentation to America’s active military
forces, and to serve their states and local community when natural disasters
such as snowstorms, hurricanes, forest fires, floods, man-made disasters and
other emergencies occur.  Under the
Defense Department’s TOTAL FORCE POLICY, the Army National Guard (ARNG)
comprises over 54 percent of the U.S. Army’s combat forces.  The Air National Guard (ANG) plays an
equally significant role in support of the Air Force, providing over 30 percent
of its total structure.

Under control of governors during
peacetime, Guard members and their equipment are located in more than 3,000
communities in the 50 contiguous states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Island, Guam
and the District of Columbia.  This
dispersion enables Americans to serve their country while pursuing civilian
careers, and it facilitates rapid response to emergencies occurring nationally
or globally.

The Air National Guard is composed of 89
flying units with about 1175 aircraft. 
There are also 578 Mission Support Organizations.  The Air National Guard posses over 30
percent of the Air Force’s Fighter assets, provides 100 percent of the United
States’ peacetime air defense interceptor alert forces, as over 22 percent of
the tactical air support and 49 percent of the tactical airlift.  In addition, it provides about 46
percent of the K-135 aerial refueling tankers and 26 percent of the rescue

The Army National Guard comprises the
largest Reserve Component and the oldest military force in the United
States.  These Guard members train
at 3,200 armories and state or federal training facilities located in nearly
2,700 communities.  As part of the
Total Army, the Army National Guard comprises over 54 percent of combat forces,
over 46 percent of combat support, over 32 percent of combat service support and
nine percent of other forces.

Those joining the Army or Air National
Guard incur an eight-year obligation. 
Normally, the commitment is one weekend each month and 15 days of annual
training after basic and advanced skill training.  In addition to receiving pay for drills
and annual training, members earn retirement points for each period of service
performed.  While on active duty,
one retirement point is earned for each day of active duty.  During weekend drills or periods of
inactive duty training (IDT), one retirement point is earned for each four-hour
period up to two points per day.  A
member who accumulates 20 years in which 50 point were earned in each year,
becomes eligible to receive retirement pay at age 60.

In addition, embers enjoy several other
benefits for serving in the National Guard.  Benefits and entitlements available to
National Guard personnel and their family members differ depending on duty
status. There are three categories: Standard, Mobilization/Active Duty, and

Standard.  Standard benefits are
available to members and/or families during period of inactive duty and annual
training.  Some are free and others
require payment.  Some examples
include the following:

  • Commissary (24
    visit per year in addition to periods of active duty)
  • Post/Base
  • Morale,
    Welfare and Recreation (MWR) recreation, clubs, other facilities

  • Space-A Travel
    (service members only outside of CONUS)
  • Dental
  • Employment
    protection under USERRA
  • Service
    Members Group Life Insurance

Mobilization/Active Duty.  In addition to the above benefits, the
following apply to Guard members on active duty of 30 days or

  • Active duty pay and
  • Health care through military
    facilities or TRICARE
  • Family Dental care under the
    TRICARE Dental Plan
  • Soldiers and Sailors Civil
    Relief Act protections

Retirement.  Since a member’s status changes with
retirement, different benefits are available.  When a member has 20 qualifying years of
service, he or she may retire as a “gray area” retiree.  When the retiree reaches age 60 and
qualifies for pay, the benefits are the same as active duty

  • Retirement pay (at age
  • Survivor’s Benefit
  • Health care through military
    facilities or TRICARE at age 60
  • Retiree dental
  • Commissary (24 visits per
    year in gray area, unlimited at age 60)
  • Post/Base Exchange
  • Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) recreation,
    clubs, other facilities
  • Space-A Travel
  • Life insurance
  • Veteran’s benefits

For more information on retirement, see the Air Reserve
Personnel Center at


The Air Force History Support Office (AFHSO),

located in Washington, D.C., is part of the Air Force History and
Museums Program. The AFHSO consists of the following

Reference & Analysis:
provides historical information,
analysis, and perspective
to Air Force leaders and their staffs to support planning, policy development,
and decision making. Also responds to requests for information about the Air
Force’s history from private organizations, government agencies, and the general

Publications: produces books,
monographs, studies, and reports to preserve the history of the U.S. Air Force.
Many of these are available for purchase through the Government Printing

Outreach: provides materials to
publicize the accomplishments of the Air Force, and represents the Air Force
History & Museums program at exhibits at many international air shows each

AFHSO works in conjunction with the Air Force Historical
Research Agency
(AFHRA) at Maxwell Air
Force Base, Alabama.


Military rank is more than just who
salutes whom. Military rank is a badge of leadership. Responsibility for
personnel, equipment, and mission grows with each increase in rank.

Do not confuse rank with pay grades,
such as E-1, W-2 and O-5. Pay grades are administrative classifications used
primarily to standardize compensation across the military services. The “E” in
E-1 stands for “enlisted” while the “1” indicates the pay grade for that
position. The other pay categories are “W” for warrant officers and “O” for
commissioned officers. Some enlisted pay grades have two ranks.

The Army, for example, has the ranks of
corporal and specialist at the pay grade of E-4. A corporal is expected to fill
a leadership role and has a higher rank than a specialist even though both
receive the same amount of pay. In the Marine Corps, master gunnery sergeants
and sergeant majors are E-9s, but the sergeant major has the higher rank.

Visit the American Forces Press Service article for a historical overview of rank


Another link to Military Rank
is http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil.  Further information on Military Rank can be found at:




Branches of Service

Information about the various Branches of Service can be found at

Career Management

Air Force Career Management Information can be found


Air Force Publications and Military

This site,

, lists all Air Force publications.
Additionally, Air Force publications
can be accessed at


Military Customs and

Information on Military Customs and Courtesies can be found


Uniforms, Ribbons, Medals

Information about uniforms, ribbons and medals can be
found at




information for dress and appearance (uniforms) can be found

Air Force Bases and National Guard Air

for Air Bases can be found at:


Technician and Active Guard and Reserve Program
(AGR) Job Announcements

Technician and AGR Job
Announcements can be viewed through your individual state’s National Guard
website usually under the Human Resources section.