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Frequently Asked Questions
Published July 28, 2008
What is the Air National Guard?
The Air National Guard is a community-based military force. It is distinctive among United States reserve military forces has both a federal and state mission.
In peacetime, the Air National Guard is commanded by the governor and may be called to state active duty by the governor during natural disasters, civil disturbances or other state emergencies. During a war or national emergency, the Air National Guard may be called to federal active duty by the president or Congress. The Air National Guard serves as the primary source of augmentation for the active Air Force.
How is the Air National Guard different from the Air Force Reserve?
Although the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve are both a part of this nation's Reserve Forces, there are a few differences between us. One difference is the Air National Guard serves both the state and nation in times of need. Another difference is all Guardsmen are assigned to units, while many reservists are IMA's or Individual Mobilization Augmentees. We assist civil leaders during natural disasters, state emergencies and civil unrest. This means the National Guard serves in a dual role and may be called out to provide help in state and federal matters.
We also have a community mission. Air National Guard members live and work beside you. We strongly believe in assisting and giving back to our communities. We serve as mentors and tutors in local schools, as volunteers in community projects and as liaisons between the military and civilian worlds.
Another difference is our educational benefits. Both the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, but only the Michigan National Guard offers an annual tuition grant to any state supported community college, junior college, or University, under the State Educational Assistance Program.
Will the Air National Guard require a lot of my time?
In comparison, for all the benefits you receive with membership, the Air National Guard requires very little time commitment. After basic training and a technical school, you will be required to perform drill one weekend a month and 15 days annual training.
What flying opportunities are there?
The Michigan Air National Guard flies the A-10 Thunderbolt, the F-16 Falcon and the C-130 Hercules. For more information on how to become a pilot for the Michigan Air National Guard contact one of the Team Michigan Recruiters.
How long of a commitment is the Air National Guard?
If you have never served in any branch of the military, there are two enlistment options. The first is the "6 & 2" option which entitles you to serve in the National Guard for six years and then in the inactive National Guard for two years (while in the inactive National Guard you do not have to attend drills of annual training; but you may be called to serve in a national emergency). It is important to note that in order to receive to education benefits you must enlist with the "6 & 2" option.
If you have already been a member of the US Armed Forces, you can usually enlist in the National Guard for as little as a year. Veterans who have served in any branch of the military have additional options available to them including a "Try One" program that allows a veteran to serve for only one year on a trial basis before committing to a full enlistment.
Do I have to go to basic training?
If you have never served in any branch of the military, you will first have to attend a six-week basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. You will learn Air Force history, marksmanship, drill and ceremony and other basic skills. In addition, you will have to attend a technical career school.
What job opportunities are available to me in the Air National Guard?
The Michigan Air National Guard offers hundreds of various career fields for potential members. Members can choose from fields in maintenance, administration, medical, communications, public affairs and more. Different career fields have different qualifications and your recruiter can better match your skills with the career field your best suited for and interested in.
What are the qualifications for joining the Air National Guard?
The Air National Guard has physical, academic and legal qualifications. You must be in generally good health and have no major physical or psychological handicaps. The minimum age to join the Michigan Air National Guard is 17. Perspective members under age 18 must obtain the consent of a parent or legal guardian. You also must be in high school or have a high school diploma or GED. Every candidate must also receive the minimum qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam or ASVAB for short. Your individual ASVAB score will also determine which career field you're qualified for. You must have no major criminal convictions.
If I join the Air National Guard, will it affect my civilian job?
Your enlistment with the Michigan Air National Guard should not affect your civilian employment. There are federal laws in place which prevent employers from terminating an employee because he or she is a member of the National Guard. In addition, if you are ever called to active service, your employer is required by law to allow you to return to the same job you had when you left. The Michigan Air National Guard can assist you if you are having a problem with your employer. Most employers know the importance of the National Guard and are happy with the skills and knowledge Guard members bring to their civilian jobs.
The Michigan Committee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a group of dedicated volunteers who will assist you and your employer with any potential work conflicts. For more information on ESGR call 800-962-2443 or check out their website at http://ngms.state.ms.us/rr/mesgr/mesgrhomepage.htm.
How much will I get paid?
Along with all the other benefits you receive when you enlist, (college tuition grant, GI bill, specific job training and leadership development) you will also receive a full day's pay based on your grade and number of years in service for each day performed.
What other benefits are available in the Michigan Air National Guard?
Besides offering tuition grants through the State Educational Assistance Program and the Montgomery GI Bill, you will also receive leadership and career training. The National Guard offers great life insurance, free air travel within the United States when space is available, retirement benefits at age 60, and medical, commissary, and Base Exchange privileges. This along with the feeling of pride and dedication in serving your community, state and nation.
What travel opportunities are available in the Michigan Air National Guard?
Most of our units deploy annually for their 15 days of active training. Training sites have included locations all over the United States and Europe. As a member of the Michigan Air National Guard you will have the chance to deploy with your unit during these annual missions. The opportunity to travel space available is also a great benefit of Air National Guard membership. You can travel free within the United States when there are vacant spaces on a flight.