“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Winston S. Churchill. The primary mission of the Army is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders. There are five branches of the military, but there are two branches that are always up for debate on which to join. Active Army and National Guard have many differences, such as deployment rates, retirement, and command; however, they are similar in training, rank, and pay. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps were established in 1775 in concurrence with the American Revolution. The war department was established in 1789 and was the precursor to what is now the Department of Defense (DOD). One year later, in 1790 the Coast Guard was established. This was followed by the founding the department of the Navy in 1798.
The National Guard as a state funded militia under various names was founded in 1636-1903, as Federal Reserve’s forces called the National Guard 1903 to the present. The Army National guard serves both the state and federal government. The governor of the state where the Army National guard unit is based serves as the commander in chief over all the guard units within that state. The governor can activate their National Guard units in cases of state emergencies. The National Guard is also a reserve component of the U.S. Army and can be activated to defend the nation by the president of the United States. The president is the commander in chief of active duty Army. Active Army is not permitted to intervene with state affairs unless given executive orders by the president. Also the Army and National Guard soldiers fall under the same rank structures: from private to general. Governors have authority over National Guard units in their state, but not over active units or posts. The president has full authority over National Guard units and Active Army.
Pay in the Active Army and National Guard is dependent upon several factors, including rank, time in service, marital and dependent status, location and extra benefits’ as tuition assistance and sign on bonuses. National Guard has drill which typically is two days which balances out to muta 4 which is 4 days’ pay for 2 days. Active duty gets paid twice a month, and also receives housing allowance and food allowances. The Thrift savings plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and members of the uniformed services, including the ready reserves. It was established by Congress in federal employee’s retirement system. Service members’ group life insurance (SGLI) is a group that provides low cost life insurance to eligible service members. SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum amount of $400,000. Tricare is the healthcare provider. Active duty receives their healthcare free on an active military installation.
As the National Guard has the option to purchase their healthcare through Tricare reserve select at a discounted price. Both Active and National Guard earn leave time. They both start accumulating leave in basic and advanced individual training (AIT). National Guard soldiers have their leave bought back from them once they have completed their training. National Guard does earn leave when they are activated. Active Army earns 2.5 days a month equaling 30 days a year. Active Army can also accumulate up 90 days over a three year time period without losing their leave time. Active Army and National Guard go through the same basic training and AIT. The length of a soldiers AIT is determined on the job they have chosen. Active Army trains every day Monday through Friday and sometimes on weekends at company level. National Guard trains one weekend a month and two weeks a year, as a unit on drill weekends. Concerning physical training (PT) Active duty does PT at a platoon level Monday through Friday. National Guard does PT on their, own personal time. Active Army and National Guard are required to meet the same standards concerning the, Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).
The APFT consists of three tests in order push-ups, sit-ups, and a timed two mile run. The push-ups and sit-ups are timed at two minutes and individual has a certain number of repetitions to complete depending on their age group. All soldiers are required to meet a 60% in each category in order to pass. Those who fail must repeat all events within three months. Active Army is a standalone career. When one is on Active duty they can live on post or off post. Active Army is a full time job working and training Five to Six days a week 40 plus hours a week. National Guard can be considered a dual career, when someone joins the National Guard they drill one weekend a month two weeks a year while maintaining a fulltime civilian job. Both Active and National Guard if chosen to make a career the term length consist of 20 years until they are able to draw retirement. When joining Active duty you are given a duty assignment at any active installation, chosen by the Army.
National Guard is assigned to any National Guard armory with in that state of joining. National Guard armory assignment depends on that soldier’s MOS. Active Army soldiers deploy more than any other branch. The standard Army deployment is 12 months, then 12 months stationed at home. How often a person deploys depends on the need of their job. National Guard can be deployed for state emergencies, at any time. When they are deployed overseas, they generally deploy for 12 months with 3 years dwell time upon returning home. Active Army and National Guard are both covered under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The statute that, prescribes criminal law for soldiers. Congress put UCMJ in action in 1950. National Guard soldiers are still held to the standards of UCMJ while outside of uniform.
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him” –G.K. Chesterton. In conclusion, there are so many differences and similarities between active Army and National Guard. Both Active Army and National Guard give a soldier the ability to make the military a career. No matter which component one chooses the Army is a lifestyle, each component has their benefits and draw backs. No matter the differences between the two of them, they are still defenders of freedom.