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  • Functional Areas in the Guard

    For an officer coming off active duty who has not gone to the CCC yet, is the process for getting into a functional area similar to AD? IE, you find a FA slot in the state you are applying for, and if you are accepted, the Guard sends you to CCC and then the qualification course for said FA?

    In the latest MILPER, it stated that FAs were now using the VTIP program as the entry point, not boards. For Reserve/NG, officers need to "...SUBMIT A DA FORM 4187 (SIGNED BY THE FIRST LTC IN THEIR CHAIN OF COMMAND), A MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD STATING REASON FOR REQUEST AND ONE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FROM LTC OR ABOVE."

    So going by the MILPER message, it seems like the officer would have to already be assigned to a NG unit to have a LTC who could sign their 4187. I'm guessing this wouldn't be a quick process, as what LTC would want to give away an officer who just got to his unit so he could go off and become a FA officer.

  • #2
    Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

    You have far more control over your Guard career than you did on active duty. You'll find this both a blessing and a curse. Also realize that you have two factors that you never had to consider: geography, and your civilian career. On active duty, if you wanted to be a Laser Death Ray Fire Control Officer, you'd talk to your branch manager, he'd send you to the course for nine months, and then you'd get PCS orders to Ft Wainwright, Alaska. In the Guard, you've first got to find a vacant (or projected vacant) slot, then get approval from both current and future chains of command, then get time off from your civilian employer (who must give you the time, by law, but still ...), and then figure out how you're going to commute a thousand miles each way to drill. Most active component officers find that career management is harder in the Guard than on active duty, although you can make it work.

    You must first decide what is most important to you in order, so you know where to make sacrifices. Some people want to be a Death Ray operator so bad, they'll quit their civilian job to attend the school, then drive 600 miles each way to drill. Some guys will hold their nose and take a less desirable position close to home, or forego opportunities in order to maintain focus on their civilian life/career. Whatever you do, just do it on purpose.

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    • #3
      Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

      Hey thanks sir. So really all it's going to take is finding an open slot (regardless of branch/FA?) with the "officer manning" officer and seeing if the CO there will approve, then from there I figure out when I can go to the CCC/FAQC?

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      • #4
        Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

        I'd strongly suggest you look at the USAR if you're a CPT or 1LT(P). You're going to quicly hit a promotion ceiling in the NG as many of the senior positions are tied to mil tech jobs.

        I'd also stay away from FA's. You don't want to limit your career or promotion potential. Keep in mind you're going to be a TPU officer and won't be doing the job everyday.

        You have far more control over your Guard career than you did on active duty.
        I would only agree with this in so much that you're the only one who will care about your career. You won't have a branch manager helping you out, nor will you have senior leaders looking out for you.

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        • #5
          Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

          Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
          I'd strongly suggest you look at the USAR if you're a CPT or 1LT(P). You're going to quicly hit a promotion ceiling in the NG as many of the senior positions are tied to mil tech jobs.

          I'd also stay away from FA's. You don't want to limit your career or promotion potential. Keep in mind you're going to be a TPU officer and won't be doing the job everyday.
          The Guard is 70% larger than the USAR, and the USAR also has technicians in the ranks, so I'm not sure how the USAR will do any better in this regard.

          I recommend maintaing a basic branch affiliation, as well as developing a second qualification. Plenty of people do well with just the basic branch, although force structure limitations and geography may make it difficult to stay exclusively in a functional area.

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          • #6
            Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

            the USAR also has technicians in the ranks
            Yes but in the USAR, a miltech's civilian rank and military rank do not have to match as they do in the NG. It's very common to have rank inversions in the USAR.

            I've met many field grade officers who have moved to the USAR becuase it's easier to get promoted.
            Last edited by RedLeg; June 29th, 2011, 02:38 AM.

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            • #7
              Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

              Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
              I'd strongly suggest you look at the USAR if you're a CPT or 1LT(P). You're going to quicly hit a promotion ceiling in the NG as many of the senior positions are tied to mil tech jobs.

              I'd also stay away from FA's. You don't want to limit your career or promotion potential. Keep in mind you're going to be a TPU officer and won't be doing the job everyday.



              I would only agree with this in so much that you're the only one who will care about your career. You won't have a branch manager helping you out, nor will you have senior leaders looking out for you.
              I positively lean with this response. I have been afforded more control over my career as an AD officer. Also, I am able to track and interact with my peers and their movements (on a world-wide level) so I can better gauge what assignments will be a better fit for my career growth and possibly better compete on the promotion boards.

              But I never had an experience as a reserve component officer; so my experience in that realm is non-existent. But personally, I have met former reservists that were at their OBCs and decided to transition to the active component based on the promotion and career opportunities. Whatever is a fit for you and your lifestyle.
              Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; June 29th, 2011, 06:33 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

                RedLeg, I am fine with a promotional ceiling, if I could stay in a company for years, I'd be happy.

                And I am not opposed to staying in a basic branch, I was looking at FAs that interested me as a way to get out of my basic branch, but from what I've seen, the NG is not as strict as AD when it comes to slots/MTOE vs branches, but let me know if I'm off base here. I am looking to go to a combat arms company, but I branched QM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

                  Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
                  Yes but in the USAR, a miltech's civilian rank and military rank do not have to match as they do in the NG. It's very common to have rank inversions in the USAR.

                  I've met many field grade officers who have moved to the USAR becuase it's easier to get promoted.
                  The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

                    I want to make sure I have the most accurate information. I just did my reserve component counselling as part of my active duty resignation, and the counselor said that the process for switching branches was the same as on active duty, I'm not sure that's correct based on what I've seen on here. Can someone let me know?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Functional Areas in the Guard

                      Originally posted by Kriegsspiel View Post
                      I want to make sure I have the most accurate information. I just did my reserve component counselling as part of my active duty resignation, and the counselor said that the process for switching branches was the same as on active duty, I'm not sure that's correct based on what I've seen on here. Can someone let me know?
                      If there's a vacancy in a different branch, and you meet the qualifications, and your current and future chains of command agrees, and your State has the training dollars to send you to school, then you can switch branches. Your State won't send you to school for fun, only to fill a documented need. The force needs a certain number of people to switch, to keep the force balanced at various grades, and as force structure changes. In Virginia, for example, we have more slots for MI captains than MI lieutenants, so we need a few captains from other branches to switch to fill those slots.

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