The National Guard is the oldest military branch.
The National Guard's roots date back to 1636, when colonial militias made up of ordinary citizens would put down their plows and pick up weapons to protect families and towns from hostile attacks. Today, Citizen-Soldiers® hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.
The National Guard serves both state and federal governments. While the Guard originally focused on protecting local communities, it eventually grew into a force that complements the Active Duty Army when help is needed anywhere in the world. The biggest difference compared to other branches is that while Guard units are combat-trained and can be deployed overseas, they are just as likely to serve in their home communities.
During local emergencies, Guard units assist residents endangered by storms, floods, fires and other disasters. Guard units deployed overseas may experience combat. Others may use expertise gained in civilian careers to build schools and hospitals, train local peacekeepers, or teach local farmers how to use land more efficiently.
Typically, Guard Soldiers live at home, where they can be near friends and family while holding a civilian job. Drill is scheduled just one weekend each month. Two-week annual training takes place once each year. Drill and annual training provide Soldiers the opportunity to practice their skills, which helps keep units trained and ready for action at all times.
As a Guard Soldier, your primary area of operation is your home state. Any governor or the president himself can call on the Guard at a moment’s notice. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency helping to defend American freedom and ideals. This is what makes the National Guard a unique and essential element of the U.S. military.
Do you have what it takes?
To join the National Guard without any previous military service, you must be between the ages of 17 and 35 and meet strict guidelines. You can read all of the physical, educational and aptitude requirements below.
If you’ve never served in the military, there are five steps you need to take if you hope to join the Guard:
1. Contact Sgt. Eddie Cruz - 202 222 5180
You start the process by filling out a form and letting Sgt. Eddie Cruz know you have questions. No obligation, no guarantees—it’s just a way of letting us know that you want to find out more.
2. Take the Asvab
If you and Sgt. Eddie Cruz agree that you’re a good fit for the Guard, you can arrange to take your ASVAB test.
Once you’ve determined that you want to become a Soldier in the National Guard, you’re ready to enlist. At this point, you’ll:
* Schedule a physical examination with one of our doctors
* Lock in your ship date for Basic Combat Training (BCT)
* Confirm the job that you've selected
* Approve any benefits and bonuses
* Take your Oath of Enlistment
4. Attend RSP
Your ship date—the day you leave for Basic, depends on your Guard job and the school you’ll attend for that job. You might ship within just a few weeks, or it might be delayed for several months. Until you ship, you’ll attend RSP one weekend a month to learn Guard rules and structure, and start fitness and classroom training.
5. Ship to Basic Combat Training
You’re ready to start becoming a Soldier. In 10 weeks, you’ll be physically and mentally stronger than you’ve ever been, and ready to be part of the team that protects America.