Guard and Reserves - The Essentials

Joining the National Guard or reserves is a good way to stay connected to the benefits of military life while fully participating in civilian life. Reserve duty is also a viable path to military retirement which can be obtained through 20 years of combined active and reserve duty.

Here are some things to consider as you evaluate your options:

Are the reserves right for you?

Reserve duty can do more than fulfill your obligation. It's also a good way to keep one foot in the military community and one foot in the civilian world. As a reservist, you can be connected to the benefits of military life and civilian life at the same time. Find out if reserve duty is right for you.

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Know your benefits.

Don’t let benefits you’ve earned slip through your fingers just because you’re in the National Guard or reserves. Guard and reserve members can take advantage of benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, just like their active-duty counterparts. The VA can help Guard and reserve members cover the cost of school, secure a home loan or acquire life insurance.

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Understand your special benefits: Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn service members.

Active-duty, Guard or reserve service members returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn deserve the easiest possible transition back to civilian life. To thank service members for their sacrifice, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides a variety of services and benefits, such as ongoing medical insurance, tuition assistance, options to keep your life insurance and readjustment counseling. Find out more.

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Information is power when it comes to a successful separation or transition from the military. Military OneSource provides an array of services to help you conclude your life as an active-duty service member and advance to the next step. Call 800-342-9647 for specialty consultations or to connect to a variety of other resources. OCONUS/Overseas? Click here for calling options.