Should I join the Army National Guard married?
I am 24 year old college grad, successful enough to get my wife and I by and will probably want kids soon. I also have this burning desire to serve in the military somehow. I am considering joining the Guard in an enlisted infantry MOS, so I can serve without giving up my civ job, but am having trouble deciding whether this would be a selfish thing out of my personal desire to serve at the expense of my wife and family or would it be a good, honorable thing to do that outweighs the negatives. Even among my family and friends, those that served never did so as they were married. It would be so difficult for my wife once/if I get deployed abroad, or worse (I accept that in this environment it is still likely). I need some sound advise here before I start talking to a recruiter.
*** Ok lets go over a few things that I can see people blowing up over now. I have been around this site long enough to see people's sometime silly reactions to questions.
-Yes, i have spoken with my wife about it. She of course doesn't like it, but accepts that if I feel I need to do it, I should. So she has put the decision on me and will be supportive either way.
- If you feel you have to diss the Guard, please keep it to a minimum. I have already heard enough from a brother in the Marines.
- By saying 'selfish' I am not trying to diss military families. I have the utmost respect for them. In fact that is who I would most like to hear from. It just seems more selfish in my case as the wife was never signing up for this when we got married and she is definitely not used to the military family environment.
- Anonymous3 years agoFavorite Answer
The part about your wife not liking it is a big part. It is different when you join before you are married because your future spouse knows that the military will be a part of both of your lives. If you are planning to join and have kids, you need to think long and hard. When you deploy, your wife becomes a single parent. She really needs to be willing to do this, especially if you do not plan on getting divorced. You both need to be really honest with each other, just saying ok and really dealing with this are two different issues. Also, remember that if she works, she will have to juggle kids and a job while you are deployed. You might also speak with family members to see if they are willing to help out if you are deployed when you have kids.
Another factor that you have to look into is your income. If you have a good civilian job that pays fairly well, you also need to think long and hard, especially if you are going enlisted. If you are activated as an e-3 you will not make a whole lot of money and it may cause financial problems. I suggest that you at least look into getting a commission so that there is not a huge gap in pay when you are activated. Many guards/reserves have taken financial beatings because of deployments. However, if you do not have a good job, the deployment money may not be so bad.
At one time, the military had deployment insurance that covered income loss for those who were activated. It was stopped because it went broke. If you plan on joining, I highly recommend that you put away some money every month for your own "deployment" insurance. In addition, even though you would be covered by law in terms of not have to pay your mortgage while deployed, I would purchase a home based on your potential deployment income. That way, you could still make payments. Even though the payments are deferred while you are deployed, that tacks on time on your mortgage. Also, make sure that you live in close proximity to family members who are willing and able to assist your wife while you are gone. Make sure too, that your life insurance policies are up to date and are enough. Yes your wife would get sgli (military insurance) that I believe is now $500,000 but you have to factor in the potential loss of your income for about 10 years. $500,000 can go very quickly. Sit down with a financial planner and get things worked out ahead of time. However, be careful of scams. There are some unethical people who will charge through the nose for bogus information. USAA provides service members with good financial planning and they also offer insurance - auto and house for a reasonable rate. I have my home insured with them now and I also had renter's insurance with them.
Make sure that your civilian life insurance does not have an act of war clause, meaning that you would not be covered if killed while on active duty. Some insurance policies have this and some insurance agents gloss over this.
In addition, to be fair to your wife, pick a different mos. One of the biggest financial problems that you could face is if you are disabled and not able to work again. Lets say you fall victim to an ied and suffer from a traumatic brain injury. You come back home and you are not able to work. Just how is you wife and future kids going to live. You will get a va disability check for the rest of your life but it will not be enough to cover what you could have earned with your college degree. I know that you probably are gun ho but you have to use your head and think about what is best for your family. While an admin job is not very glorious, it lets you serve with less of a chance of coming back as damaged goods.
Another thing I forgot. You do understand that your employer has to let you go for your two week annual leave and for state emergency call ups but your employer does not have to pay you. If you live in a state that is prone to calling guard members up, you might want to look into the army reserve rather than the guard. Lets say a hurricane or tornado hits and you are called up for a week or two, that may reduce your income. Think this through. Joining the guard does have lots of benefits like education benefits, commissary and px benefits, and a retirement check at age 60 if you complete 20 good years of service.