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  • Becoming an officer

    Hello, I have an interest in becoming an officer with the national guard, but I need more information. I will complete AIT in March 2014 with the national guard. I have an associate's degree in administration of justice. In your opinion, should I finish out my bachelor's degree on my own or enroll in ROTC? As an officer, will I be able to work/drill close to home? Is becoming an officer worth it or should I just stay with the rank of E-4 after completing my bachelor's degree. Any suggestions/answers are helpful. Thank you.

  • #2
    These are some good questions, without really good answers that we can provide. Should you finish your bachelors degree on your own or ROTC, that is something only you can answer. There are pro's and con's to both. For this one specifically I would get a hold of an ROTC cadre or a recruiter to discuss the merits of each. I'm not totally familiar with that aspect, so I won't discuss it. When it comes to drilling close to home, that is something we can't answer. My unit is 20 minutes from my house, but one of my fellow graduates has to drive 2+ hrs to get to his drilling location. That was where he was sloted when he graduated from OCS. You don't get to choose where you are assisgned for the most part and even if your first assignment is very close by, nothing to say that your next one will be.

    Is becoming an officer worth it. It was to me, and many others, but is it worth it to you? Only you can answer that. ROTC has its merits and so does traditional and fast track OCS programs. They are all fairly hard and potentially very rigorous, but is it worth it to you? I don't know, is it? You can be leader as a SGT or as a LT, but it is up to you whether you want to be more hands on and with the troops, or conducting planning meetings and long term objectives. Once again, pro's and con's to each.

    Ultimately many of these are questions only you can answer. What do you want to do in life and where do you want to go? What are you 3 year, 5 year and 10 year goals. Where do you see yourself in 5 years. These are the types of questions you need to answer in order to figure out what you want to get out of the Guard. This is just my .02c worth.


    • ricardorayas6
      ricardorayas6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the response. I am interested in becoming an officer with a reserves unit, since I don't plan on being an active soldier. I understand that there is a possibility that I could go active and I'm okay with that. Do you know if you get paid extra to drive long distances to get to your station? The officer process isn't similar to joining the guard? For the national guard i remember picking my own job and at a station of my choice. I'll be working about 5 minutes from home after AIT=)

  • #3
    I'm not sure if you get extra for a longer commute or not. But if it is greater than "x" distance then they have to put you up for the night. That could be a cot on a drill floor, but it meets the intent.

    If you go through the Guard OCS program then you will put in for your wish list of jobs. You choose 3. If you are ranked number one in your class then most states guarantee your first choice as far as jobs go. But if the job you choose has an opening 2 hrs away, then that is where you go. The unit 5 minutes down the road may not have an opening or may not even have the chosen MOS. Anything below number one in your class and it is the needs of the state. Most try and get at least something in your top 3 selection, but sometimes that doesn't happen. In my state we had no choice as far as what unit or station we were assigned to.


    • #4
      There is no extra incentive for traveling far from your home of record. In my state, if funds are available, you can get a hotel room for 2 nights if your HOR is 100+ miles from the Armory, or for 1 night if your HOR is 50-99 miles from the armory. That is hardly an "incentive" though it has been a nice benefit and has relieved a lot of the burden of travel for a number of troops, myself included as I live almost 200 miles away from my unit. There are plenty of times when hotels have not been available so I've just slept on a cot in my office at the Armory with other troops that don't live in the area.

      As an officer, you should expect to travel to drill. There are going to be fewer slots available for you which means the likelihood of getting one close to your home of record is much smaller than if you are enlisted. If you are considering being an officer due to some (misguided) sense of extra convenience afforded to you, then you will be sorely disappointed when you get your commission.


      • #5
        Wow, thank you all for the information. I want to become an officer in case I ever get deployed. I want to have some type of authority. I would hate to travel more than 50 miles to drill, considering that O-1 pays only about $100 than an E-4 for drill. I will try to become an officer with the air force reserves. After my 3 years are up, I will try to transfer.