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The Air National Guard

The Air National Guard accomplishes three missions:
  • To support the Air Force in its national security objectives.
  • To protect life and property, and to preserve peace, order and public safety. 
  • To participate in local, state and national programs.

Although the Air National Guard was not established as a separate component of the U.S. Air Force until 1947, National Guard aviators have played significant roles in all of America's wars and most of it's major contingencies throughout this century. 
The Air National Guard is located in every state, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. To find out what units are in your area visit the Air National Guard locator page.

For more on general Guard benefits and pay, see the Guard Help Pages

If you are interested in joining the Air National Guard, you must:
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 (you can be 17 with a parent's signature).
  • You must have a High School diploma, although in some instances GED certificates can be accepted.
  • Pass a physical.
  • Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which will determine career paths available for consideration. To learn how to get a good score on the ASVAB, go to the ASVAB section.

When you join the Air Guard you will go though Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. This is a six week course that teaches you the basics of military life and customs, drill and ceremony, as well as physically and mentally challenge you by building your confidence and stamina.

Education Benefits and Skills Training:
The Air National Guard has units in every state and territory of the United States. Many of these units offer tuition assistance up to 100% according to their needs. Many units offer school loan repayments. Couple these benefits of service with free air travel, very low cost term life insurance, a monthly paycheck, continuing training and shopping privileges at military installations and you have the best part time job in America. In fact, depending on which career path you choose, you may qualify for a signing bonus.

For more information, visit the Air National Guard locator page to find an Air Guard unit in your state or community. In addition to the educational benefits offered through the states, the Air Guard is also eligible to participate in these programs to pay for school and training.

Montgomery G.I. Bill for Selected Reserve:
The MGIB-SR allows you attend school full-time while serving in the Reserve or National Guard and get over $10,000 for school in addition to your paycheck and any other educational benefits you may be eligible to receive. For more on the GI Bill for Selected Reservists, go to the Reserve GI Bill section.

Community College of the Air Force:
This institution enables students to earn an associate in applied science degree. The college is only open to enlisted active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members. CCAF offers 66 programs presently open for enrollment in five career areas: aircraft and missile maintenance, allied health, electronics and communications, logistics and resources, and public and support services. It is the largest multi-campus community college in the world and has over 372,000 airmen enrolled. To earn their two-year degrees, students combine Air Force technical training, professional military education and general education credits from accredited colleges and universities. Visit the official Website for more information.

Reserve Officer Training Corps:
If your hope is to become an Air Force officer then Air Force ROTC is one of three ways. With detachments at over 143 universities and colleges nationwide, and more than 850 schools offering the program with host schools in their locations, AFROTC is an excellent way to work towards a commission while obtaining your degree.

Air Force ROTC offers 3.5-, 3-, and 2.5-year scholarships in all majors. There are two categories of scholarships: 

Type I - This scholarship offers full tuition and fees with a textbook allowance per year. 
Type II - An annual payment for tuition and fees, and an additional annual book allowance.

All scholarship cadets receive a monthly nontaxable stipend throughout the school year. To be eligible you must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Complete at least one term of full-time college-level work (does not include college-level work during high school) and have at least 24 semester hours of college-level credits
  • Meet weight, fitness, medical, age, citizenship, Air Force Officer Qualifying Test score and other eligibility requirements.

After completing all AFROTC program and degree requirements, students receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and serve a minimum of 4 years on active duty. If interested in becoming a pilot, all pilot slots are selected during the junior year on a competitive basis. Good college grades, good physical fitness, medical qualification and good military performance are the keys to selection.

Officer Training School: 
Officer Training School, also located at Maxwell, is the "flexible partner" of Air Force commissioning programs and prepares officer candidates for the technical, physical and professional requirements of commissioned service.

Tuition Assistance:
The Air National Guard offers you tuition assistance. You can be reimbursed up to 100 percent of tuition and authorized fees.

Voluntary Education:
As a member of the National Guard you can also pursue college and university courses through the Community College of the Air Force. The Community College of the Air Force provides two-year educational programs to enlisted members of the active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. These programs combine Air Force technical training with general education course work from civilian accredited colleges.

Promotions and Career Path:
In the Air National Guard you can expect steady advancement in rank and pay. Promotions are made with what the Air National Guard considers the "whole person".

  • Job performance
  • Time in rank
  • Career specialty
  • Leadership
  • Job responsibility

The Air National Guard also looks favorably on your level of education.

Prior Service:
If you have prior military service, then the Air National Guard is an excellent way to continue accruing time and money for retirement while at the same time continuing to serve your country. When you join the Air National Guard you'll receive benefits for both your prior military and Guard experience. There are opportunities if you are currently transitioning from active duty or if you've been out of the service for awhile.

The Air National Guard Experience:
The Air National Guard offers you the ability of attending school full time or pursuing a civilian career while serving your country in one of the most sophisticated and exciting branches of the military.

As a member of the Air Guard your commitment will be to attend one drill per month and one period of annual training per year. People with no prior military experience, who join the Guard, will incur an eight-year obligation. The last two years you may serve in the inactive ready reserve. Although not active in the Guard you will be subject to recall in the event of a national emergency.

A drill consists of two days of training per month. Your pay will also be adjusted automatically for cost-of-living increases. You'll get pay increases for every two years of accumulated service and may earn special duty pay. To calculate your drill pay, visit the Drill Calculator.

Annual Training - Annual training in the Air National Guard is held for two weeks per year. Depending on the unit and your specialty you could be stationed at a shore location, with an aviation squadron or aboard ship.

As a member of the Air National Guard you will have the opportunity to travel both on duty and off. You also qualify for military Space Available travel within and between the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico. For more on military travel options and benefits, see the Travel Center.

Base Privileges:
As a member you can access to all recreational facilities on military bases such as gyms, tennis courts and libraries. You and your family can also enjoy unlimited access shopping at any Military Exchange nationwide. Air National Guard members and their families are also entitled to use base commissaries for up to 24 days annually, plus any days spent on active duty. For more on recreational and family benefits, see the Guard Family and Individual Help page.