Recently, I had a conversation with a young man just graduating from high school who was asking me if he should join the Texas Army National Guard. As a veteran of the Texas Army Guard, I was pleased he asked for my opinion. And of course, I gave him my opinion, which was a resounding YES!
Joining the Army National Guard is such a great decision if you can make it in an informed way. In other words, if you know what you’re getting into, you’ll love the experience. If you don’t know what you’re getting into, and haven’t weighed the pros and cons, then you’re going to be in for some frustrating times. The way you can become informed is by talking with as many people as you can who have excelled in the Guard. Don’t talk to people who are bums in the Guard, and there are some of those. Talk to people who know how the organization works and how it can truly be a great experience! If you fail to do your homework and ask the right questions, you may discover that your recruiter will assign you to a unit and MOS that may not be the best fit for your skills and personality. And that would be a bit unfortunate.
Aside from the great benefits like tuition assistance, student loan repayment programs, and a paycheck every month for regular drills, there are also some really GREAT benefits. Those include the ability to have a VA home loan and enrollment in the TriCare, which is the military’s health insurance program. I know of some soldiers who joined because TriCare was such a wonderful benefit to their families. The monthly premiums are incredibly affordable and the coverage is amazing.
Aside from all of these “financial” benefits, though. Another great benefit is the untangible benefit of “pride” knowing that you’re doing something good for your country and the great state of Texas. So, if you’re on the fence about joining, take it from me: Do it!