By Sgt. Nathaniel Free
Recruiting and Retention Battalion
The Utah Army National Guard is a reserve component of the United States Army that falls under the direction of Utah state leadership. Our Commander-in-Chief is the governor of Utah. We have been called on to help with local, national, and international humanitarian relief. Not only do we fulfil our state mission of civil security, but we also deploy to protect the nation. If you’re thinking about joining the Utah Army National Guard, here are 10 unexpected benefits you need to know about.
1. Live a healthier lifestyle
When you serve in the military, you’re expected to meet certain health and fitness standards. These standards are measured regularly with a physical fitness assessment called the Army Combat Fitness Test. Members of the Utah Army National Guard are held to the same standard as active duty Army, which means they need to stay in fighting shape. Basic Combat Training helps to build a foundation of fitness, but once you are back home, the rest is up to you. Training one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer is not enough to maintain that fitness, but you won’t be on your own either. Between your monthly and annual drills, you’ll have access to Master Fitness Trainers to help you develop your own nutrition guides and workout routines to meet that necessary level of combat readiness and overall fitness. Because these fitness goals and routines are entirely up to you, you’ll be forming healthy habits that could stay with long after you retire from the Utah Army National Guard.
2. Travel the world
You have wanderlust. You’ve seen pictures of foreign and exotic locations in your Instagram feed and you have the urge to see it all. One unexpected benefit to serving in the Utah Army National Guard is you don’t have to uproot your life to travel the world.
After joining, you’ll jump on a plane headed to one of several Basic Combat Training sites located in Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky or Oklahoma. While these locations may not be glamourous or exotic, and certainly not a vacation, it could be an opportunity to see a new part of the United States. And that’s only the beginning.
Your annual training could be in another state or even another country.
The Utah Army National Guard has State Partnership Programs with countries like Morocco and Nepal, but we’ve also we’ve sent Soldiers on humanitarian and training missions to Australia, Belize, Italy, Japan, Netherlands Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, just to name a few from the last year or so.
You may also be activated for a or a deployment anywhere in the world. Many know about deployments to Afghanistan or Iraq, but the Utah Army National Guard also deploys to places like Europe, Africa.
Joining the National Guard is not like backpacking around the world, but you never know what might end up on your Instagram story.
3. Learn a trade
It could be hard to break into a new industry without any real skills. Many entry-level jobs still require at least 1-2 years of prior experience, which can be tough to come by.
The Utah Army National Guard will cut you a paycheck while training you in a new skill that can be used in the civilian economy. We are actively looking to hire and train truck drivers, engineers, mechanics, medics, telecommunications and IT experts.
4. Get a free security clearance
A security clearance is an authorization that allows you to access to information that would otherwise be forbidden or classified. Having a security clearance could help you get a job in IT or public service. The cost to process a Secret clearance on your own can be up to $3,000. For a Top Secret clearance, it could be up to $15,000. But if you qualify for the right job in the Utah Army National Guard, you could have your security clearance processed for free, opening up opportunities for exciting civilian careers. This is a great way to springboard into a three-letter organization.
5. Get affordable healthcare
If you don’t already know, good healthcare doesn’t come cheap—that is, unless you’re a member of the Utah Army National Guard. An individual Soldier is entitled to the best coverage in the nation for less than $50 a month. If you’re married with a family, it will cost just over $200 a month, which is still unbeatable. With our health care program, the average out-of-pocket cost for maternity and childbirth care is less than $20. You read that right. Twenty dollars.
6. Two careers for the price of one
Most members of the Utah Army National Guard have two jobs: their civilian job where they work in the community, and their part-time military job, where they wear the uniform. When activated for emergency response or a deployment, your civilian job is protected by law. You can’t be punished or fired for missing work due to military service. You don’t have to choose between two different, yet attractive, career paths. You can have the excitement of military service while still pursuing that dream career as a doctor, lawyer, college professor, pilot or public servant.
7. Networking opportunities
The Utah Army National Guard is a great place to network with other professionals in Utah. Since we serve in our home state, you will meet people who could open the door to a better career opportunity on the civilian side. Your unit commander might be the hiring manager at a Fortune 500 company on Utah’s Silicone Slopes, which means you now have the dream career opportunity. Serving in the Utah Army National Guard says a lot about your character to potential employers: strong work ethic, patriotism, loyalty, and maybe even a security clearance.
8. Serve with your friends and family
The Utah Army National Guard is entirely composed of people from your local community: teachers, store managers, firefighters, nurses, etc. You’ll be serving alongside members of your high school class, church group, neighborhood or even family. Many brothers, fathers and sons currently serve together. And when you deploy, you deploy together. Soldiers from the same community form a special bond that will last long after you retire from the military.
9. Get paid to train
If you’re not a gun enthusiast, but you would like to learn how to shoot, the Utah Army National Guard is a great place to start. You’ll have a chance to familiarize yourself with different weapons systems in Basic Combat Training while also making a paycheck. Once you’re back home, you’ll still have time at the shooting range at least once a year and access to a team of shooting experts called the Small Arms Readiness Training Section.
If you’re a gun enthusiast, then you already know ammunition doesn’t come cheap. If once a year isn’t enough time at the range for you, then get paid to compete at our annual shooting competition, the Adjutant General Match. If you’re good at shooting, you’ll have a chance to compete at regional, national and even the international level. We need good shooters to represent Utah.
10. Make a difference in your community
Since 1636, we have defended our communities. We were the first to rise to the call of Paul Revere’s midnight ride. We were first and last line of defense during the Revolutionary War. Only the National Guard can lay claim to the title of Minutemen. We are the closest thing to the militias that fought to protect the early American colonists. And like those early colonists, the National Guard is the one place where you can be a hero in your spare time. From wildfires and hurricanes, to the global war on terrorism, you can make a difference in your community. We’ve been doing it for centuries.
Interested in joining the Utah Army National Guard?
Call Staff Sgt. Kuang-chung Vo at 801-755-7654 or check out our website to learn more.
Your Career Starts Here