Service with the National Guard brings issues into one’s life that most people who have not served never have to think about. Those who serve in the National Guard must learn to balance their civilian lives with their Guard lives, and that presents some serious challenges at times.
Over the last 17 years, the men and women of the National Guard have served with distinction and courage having been called up to serve active duty in either Iraq or Afghanistan and other places in the world more often than in previous eras.
Those Guard units that have been called up have proven themselves to be powerful and effective assets in the fight against terrorism throughout these ongoing wars post 9/11.
Usually National Guardsmen and women sign up to serve as part time soldiers and airmen. They do so out of love of country and for the opportunities the National Guard units offer in training.
Typically, the are required to serve one weekend a month and a couple of weeks each summer where they keep their special training up to date. But, as you will see in this video, that schedule can sometimes create tensions and difficulties for them in their civilian jobs.
Watch this video and hear the experiences of two National Guardsmen as they share their stories about the difficulties they encounter on the civilian side. Hear, too, the pride in their voices as they talk about the privilege they feel in serving the country.
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While employers who hire National Guardsmen are supposed to honor their National Guard employees commitments to service, including their once a month and their two week summer training requirements, and to protect their civilian jobs for them on their return, this is not always the case. This is made even more difficult when their units get called up for long term deployments.
The balance between the two life commitments are often strained. But given the amount of sacrifice that these National Guard servicemen and women have willingly endured over the last 17 years, one would think that their employers would be more than happy to honor their side of the commitment.
The Veterans Site is very aware of the challenge and the sacrifices that our National Guard members have undertaken voluntarily in our recent history. We honor all those who have served and those who continue to serve in the National Guard units in every state in this country.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.