Service Branches

Army National Guard

The Army National Guard is community-based and reports to the governor of its respective state unless called to protect U.S. domestic interests in times of conflict or natural disaster. They may also be deployed internationally alongside full-time service members when necessary. Today's National Guard fields troops from all U.S. states and territories. Each unit operates independently. Members of the National Guard hold civilian jobs or attend school while conducting their military training part time.

Learn more: Army National Guard

Serving in the Army National Guard

Service members share their views on the Army National Guard.

Length 1:48 View Transcript


Cadet Ryan Cho: When I was in high school, I always wanted to join the Military. My uncle served in the United States Navy for a few years, and I’d always been really interested in serving the country because I think it’s really important to have that type of service.

2nd Lt. Amanda Morgan: I think that the benefits and everything that the National Guard had to offer was exactly in line what I wanted to do while I was in college, so it definitely worked out.

Cadet Ryan Cho: Working with the recruiter was a very easy experience. The way I contacted them was through the Army National Guard website,, and so, on the website, they have a form that you’re able to fill out. And once you fill that out, a recruiter gets in contact with you.

2nd Lt. Amanda Morgan: When I first enlisted, my recruiter gave me a list of jobs that I qualified for. And I looked at the list and I saw aviation — I just found my passion in aviation.

Cadet Ryan Cho: I think the Military is a great option for people looking to serve. Not only because you’re able to contribute back to, you know, your country and state, but you’re also able to develop yourself personally and get, you know, education, military training, and a lot of personal development out of it as well.

2nd Lt. Amanda Morgan: The best thing that I’ve gotten out of my experience with the National Guard and the Military in general is just the discipline and the responsibility that I’ve learned from it. Because it’s not just the way I carry myself in uniform — because being National Guard is part time — it’s how I am as a civilian.

Cadet Ryan Cho: When you’re out there, whether you’ve been activated by your state or, you know, by the federal government, you’re able to see that impact immediately on the people that you’re helping out. And that’s why I think, you know, the Army National Guard is one great way to serve.

Before Serving in the Army National Guard

To enlist in the Army National Guard, you must be between 18 and 35 years old (17 with parental consent). You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may also be accepted. You must also take the ASVAB test and a physical fitness exam.

All National Guard members must complete 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, the same boot camp attended by full-time Army Soldiers.

Army National Guard Careers

Army National Guard Careers

Army National Guard training can provide you with valuable on-the-job career-skills training. Add qualities like dedication and responsibility to this training, and you have a compelling mix of traits that future employers might look for. Whether a service member's job in the Guard mirrors or complements his or her civilian career, time spent serving is a valuable asset.

Army National Guard Benefits

Members of the Army National Guard are fairly compensated for all hours spent training, drilling or deployed. The Guard allows members to train close to home while maintaining civilian careers or pursuing further education. This provides a valuable experience that benefits individuals at home and while serving.

Types of Military Service

The U.S. Military consists of six active-duty Service branches and their respective Guard and Reserve components. Together, they offer a broad variety of ways to serve.