Reservist and National Guard Employees

Understanding Their Roles in the Armed Forces

There are approximately 800,000 personnel serving in the Reserves and National Guard. While you may already have a Reservist or National Guard member working for you, many employers do not understand the role these patriotic Americans play in our Armed Forces. The following is a brief overview of the important roles Reservists and National Guard members play in defending our country.

Armed Forces Reserves
Each branch of the US Military (the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) has its own Reserve component. Reserve personnel make up a small percentage of the total manpower for each branch, but are used to augment active duty forces in all areas of service. Often, Reserve positions directly mirror the jobs and positions carried out by active duty personnel.

Reserve members have an obligation to serve one weekend per month and two full weeks per year. When serving, they help support their active duty counterpart by becoming fully trained and qualified in their job positions. The primary job of a Reservist is to be able to fill in the gaps stateside when active duty personnel are required to deploy overseas. It is not uncommon,  however, for Reserve forces to also deploy overseas if called to active duty by an act of Congress or the President during times of conflict. They are thus able to seamlessly compliment active duty forces due to their continued readiness training. Reservists reach Veteran status once they have completed the same requirements as those of their active duty counterparts.

National Guard
National Guard service is similar to that of the Reserves, but with a few key differences. Firstly, the National Guard has two sections, not five. The Army National Guard and Air National Guard  directly supplement the US Army and US Air Force; the other military branches are not included. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is how the sections are organized. While the National Guard is maintained through federal funding in the same manner as the Armed Forces, they are controlled and organized at the state level. State governments have the power to call on the National Guard for help with state natural disasters and emergencies, however, the federal government may also activate the National Guard in times of war or conflict.

National Guard members are subject to the same service requirements as Reservists - one weekend per month and two full weeks during the year – and also compliment their active duty counterparts during deployment. Members achieve Veteran status if they have been deployed to a war zone for 30 consecutive days or more.

Although both Reservists and National Guard members receive benefits under federal regulations, Depending on your state’s laws, National Guard members may also be eligible for additional benefits.