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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 insurance
  • Employment protection under
  • Service Members Group Life

In addition to the above benefits, the following apply to Guard members
on active duty of 30 days or more:

  • 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

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
  • Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)
    recreation, clubs, other facilities
  • Space-A Travel
  • Life insurance
  • Veteran’s

For more information on retirement, see the
Army Retirement Services at


The US Army Center of Military History,
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/, (CMH)
is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the U.S. Army.
Traditionally, this mission meant that the Center recorded the official history
of the Army in both peace and war, while advising the Army Staff on relevant
historical matters. In terms of this tradition, the Center traces its lineage
back to the work of those historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the
Official Records of the Rebellion, a monumental documentary history of the Civil
War begun in 1874, and to a similar work on World War I prepared by historians
in the Historical Section of the Army War College.

The modern organization of the Army’s historical
efforts dates from the creation of the General Staff historical branch in July
1943 and the subsequent gathering of a large team of professional historians,
translators, editors, and cartographers to record the official history of World
War II. This team began publication of the United States Army in World War II
series (the well-known “green books”), which now numbers 78 volumes. In recent
times, CMH has produced similarly detailed series on the Army’s role in the
Korean and Vietnam Wars and is beginning a series on the U.S. Army in the Cold
War. These works, supplemented by hundreds of smaller monographs and other
volumes on a wide range of military subjects of interest to the Army, have made
the Center of Military History one of the major publishers of military history
in the world.

Ever since its formation, CMH has provided historical
support to the Army Staff, contributing essential background information for
decision-making, staff actions, command information programs, and public
statements by Army officials. In recent decades it also has progressively
expanded its active role in the vital areas of military history education, the
management of the Army’s museum systems, and the introduction of automated data
retrieval systems. The Center’s close work with the Army school system ensures
that the study of history is a significant and useful part of the training of
officers and noncommissioned officers. It also supports the use of history to
foster unit pride and give today’s soldiers a meaningful understanding of the
Army’s past. Much of this educational work is also performed at field historical
offices and in Army museums at various posts and installations. These various
efforts involve the Center in a wide range of activities that provide all levels
of the Army–and by extension other services, government agencies, and the
public–with a growing awareness of history that goes well beyond publications


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

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

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


Further information on Military
can be found at:





Military Awards and Decorations

information concerning military awards and medals please refer to the official
Department of Defense web sites listed

Army: https://www.perscom.army.mil/tagd/awards/index.htm

Air Force:

And these related websites have information about awards and




Branches of Service

Information on the Branches of Service can be found at https://www.perscom.army.mil/

Career Management Fields
Career Management Fields for the Army can be found at
Other information about
Careers Fields can be
found at
and http://www.militarycareers.com/occ/officer.htm and Military Careers Guide


Military Forms can be found at http://web1.whs.osd.mil/icdhome/FORMTAB.HTM.


Army Publishing Directorate

The Army Publishing Directorate is the Army’s leader in publishing and distributing
information products, employing advanced technologies to ensure responsive
support worldwide. Our primary mission is supplying official authenticated information
to enhance the readiness of the total force.  You can access this site at http://www.usapa.army.mil/.   


Military Customs and

Information about Military Customs and Courtesies can be
found at
here and http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/9283/page4.html.


Post Information

Information on military posts can be found at: http://www.army.mil/A-Z.htm.


Technician and Active Guard and Reserve Program (AGR) Job

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