The Global War on Terror has seen an ever increasing role of the National Guard which was originally designed as a State militia. In fact every state has contributed men and women to this global war. So many communities and cities all across the United States have welcomed home our brave men and women and will always be there when they come home after a tour of duty. Here is a story of one insider.
When I enlisted in the Air National Guard it was never in my mind that I would be traveling all over world and becoming involved in major conflicts for my country. I thought of the National Guard as defending the USA from attacks and preforming duties in possibly other states or providing disaster assistance.Now some 26 years later I have seen the role of the National Guard change into an important co-equal partner with my active duty brothers and sisters. It makes me really proud to say that when we were tasked to perform those duties, we did them with professionalism and pride that made the active duty counter parts I worked with take notice. We have something that the active duty for the most part cannot easily duplicate, years and years of experience.
This is not a slam of the active duty forces, it is just the fact that many of the people of the Air and Army National Guard have had much more time to perfect those skills. I have seen with my own eyes the quality, speed and efficiency that the National Guard displays when asked to do it's duty. It is awesome to be quite honest, and as a former active duty person I know both sides. The people of the USA should know, and I think they do already that the National Guard has represented our country well, in spite of the many rotations and long separations from our civilian jobs and our families and communities. I see them volunteering time and time again to go back as well.
So it is not the mission I signed up for, I still believe it is worth it to ensure the freedom that we help protect, even for people who may have a different opinion of our mission, is what we do, and it is our civic duty. The support that I have seen from people in the US while I was deployed is nothing short of truly amazing. So I say that if you choose service in the National Guard today, remember that the role may change again for you as it did for me, and be prepared to be a part of a team that will rise to that challenge as well. It would be wise to remember that like many other occupations it is always changing and evolving as well.
The National Guard still does some of it's traditional roles, including an expanded mission to protect our borders and it will be successful there as well, that is certain. So take some time and learn more about National Guard units in your community and understand they do much more than two weeks a year and one weekend a month, but they are doing it for you, as they always have.