The National Guard is a military branch that complements the Active Duty Army in the United States. Members of the National Guard serve both state and federal governments and can be deployed anywhere in the world. Every National Guard unit is trained for military combat, but usually assists in their local community rather than being deployed into combat situations. There are many good reasons to join the National Guard.
The National Guard provides generous pay for your service. Salary is dependent on your education level, job and rank. Higher ranks earn more money. Members of the National Guard also receive monetary incentives and cash bonuses, such as monthly stipends, student loan repayment, sign-on bonuses and re-enlistment bonuses, in addition to regular pay. For example, individuals who have never enlisted in the military receive $7,500 to $20,000 in cash bonuses. A reenlistment bonus of $15,000 in cash or $50,000 in student loan repayment is also available. Guard members attending college can receive tuition assistance in addition to a $356 monthly expense allowance for up to four years to pay for books, supplies and other expenses.
National Guard members are eligible for many different discounts and perks, including low-cost life insurance, affordable health coverage and free flights on military transportation.You can also receive discounts and shop tax-free at any military exchange (department store) or commissary (grocery store). United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans are available to you as well and may allow you to receive guaranteed loans with minimum or no down payment.
The National Guard provides scholarships, education funding and academic counseling to it members and their dependents. The Guard's ROTC scholarships cover full tuition for full-time students and also assist with room and board, books and other mandatory fees. Some scholarships also provide stipends and a monthly allowance throughout your training and education.
National Guard members who serve for 20 years or more are eligible for retirement benefits. These benefits are in addition to any other retirement benefits you receive from other jobs or programs. Your time in the National Guard can be combined with active duty time in another military branch, making it easier to reach the 20-year mark. Retirement benefits also include TRICARE (military health care) coverage after age 62.
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